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Criminal Records: Correcting a Mistake (CPL §§ 160.50 and 160.55)

If your RAP sheet from the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) lists cases that should be sealed, like cases where you got a Good Result (like a dismissal), or Traffic Infractions and Violations (like disorderly conduct and trespass), you should try to have the mistake corrected. Unsealed records can lead to Collateral Consequences that affect your job, housing, immigration status and much more.


How to Correct a Mistake

Go to the court where your case was heard and get a Certificate of Disposition. If the Certificate of Disposition says that the case is sealed, send the original certificate, along with a letter to the DCJS asking to correct the mistake. Visit DCJS for more information.

If the Certificate of Disposition does not have a stamp that says sealed, ask the Court Clerk to check the file to see if it should say sealed. If the court file shows that the case is sealed, ask the Court Clerk to stamp the Certificate of Disposition. Send the original certificate to the DCJS with a letter asking to correct the mistake.

If the court file shows that the case is not sealed, ask the Court Clerk how to get the case sealed. Different courts have different procedures. The Court Clerk may be able to do this for you, or you may have to write a letter, or you may have to make a motion. See Lowering Criminal Barriers for a sample of what to say in a letter. If the Court Clerk says to make a motion, ask the Clerk for the procedure. Visit a Law Library or speak to an attorney.

If the case file says Do Not Seal, the case cannot be sealed.

See How to Correct a Mistake: Flow Chart.

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