How to Expunge Criminal Record in New York

Lawyer reading the expunged criminal caseHaving a criminal record is not good. Even if you only committed a minor offense, such as shoplifting, you have a permanent black mark on your public record. This can affect your chances of finding a job, getting a loan, or qualifying for affordable housing.

Unfortunately, New York does not allow expungement. If you committed a crime in New York, the next best thing is to seal the records. NY Sealing Law notes that sealing the record is almost as good as expunging it because it is no longer public record. You also do not have to tell employers about it. Here is how to expunge criminal record in New York.

Recent development

Before October 2017, New York only allowed sealing of juvenile and minor crimes, such as trespassing, and crimes that did not end in a conviction. Felonies and other serious crimes are not seal-able. However, New York passed a new law that now allows more crimes to be seal-able. You can seal up to two crimes, one of which can be a felony. Sex offenses and violent crimes are not included. You have to wait ten years before you can seal the records, though.

Before sealing

The first thing you have to do is consult with a criminal lawyer. The expungement laws of New York are complicated. A lawyer can explain them to you. For example, you may have two or more convictions that were part of one action, so the law considers it as one conviction. Your lawyer will also advise you on what crimes are eligible for sealing and special cases that may apply to you. Finally, it is better if your lawyer drafts your sworn statement to convince the court to grant the seal order.

Process

The application for sealing a record is simple. You have to go to the court where you received your conviction. Then, get a copy of your criminal record and an official disposition slip. Mail the slip together with your sworn statement of reason for sealing the record to the Division of Criminal Justice Services Sealed Records. If approved, you should have your records sealed in about 12 weeks.

Sealing or expunging a criminal record in New York has important consequences for you. If your criminal record is seal-able, you should do it as soon as possible with the help of a criminal lawyer.

The Basics: Living Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and Enduring Guardianship

Living will paperwork and a penBelieve it or not, there are people who choose to plan for the possibility of being incapacitated in the future — whether through a mental problem or illness that would hinder their capacity to make sound decisions for themselves. In Australia, the most common safeguards for this potential scenario include living wills, enduring guardianship, and an enduring power of attorney (EPA).

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a written document that includes specific instructions on how you want to be treated if ever you become incapacitated in the future. It’s also commonly called as Advanced Care Directives. Take note that the rules regarding living wills vary from state to state and territory to territory, so better do your part and don’t forget to research.

What is Enduring Guardianship?

This document enables you to appoint another person to make decisions for you in case you become incapacitated. The appointed individual would decide where you’d live, the specific healthcare you’d receive, as well as make decisions for you about medical treatments. An enduring guardianship would only become effective when you could no longer decide for yourself.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

While the enduring guardianship is more focused on healthcare and overall well-being, an enduring power of attorney (EPA) is dedicated to financial matters. You need to designate another individual, then ‘Attorney’, to conduct financial transactions for you if ever you become mentally unable to do so.

Although the laws that pertain to the Enduring Power of Attorney will vary between territories and states, it would remain valid under the eyes of law even when you completely lose your mental capacity.

The Importance of the Three

According to many attorneys in Kirwan, living wills, enduring guardianships, and an enduring power of attorney are crucial for anyone looking to make sure that they have everything covered when the time comes that they can’t make critical life decisions for themselves.

Otherwise, you and your family could face disastrous and unintended consequences — like your assets going to someone that you didn’t intend to after your death or your loved ones’ having to ask the government for authorisation to manage your financial affairs.

For you and your family’s peace of mind, make certain to consult an experienced lawyer when making a will, an Enduring Power of Attorney, or enduring guardianship.

Alimony: Things You Need to Know About Spousal Support

Alimony written on an envelope with dollars.Spousal support, along with other legal family matters, can be peacefully settled by both parties. However, significant issues like this usually need professional help by a compassionate lawyer who considers the best interest of both parties and the family.

According to Smith Horton Law, the importance of seeking professional help comes in when a legal issue begins to affect the family adversely. Unlike child support, alimony computation doesn’t have “worksheets” and depends on the state’s laws.

Who Qualifies for Alimony

Alimony is financial support granted by the supporting spouse to a dependent spouse for his/her maintenance. The recipient may get the spousal support monthly or in a lump sum. Apart from this, alimony may also include the transfer of title or possession of personal property.

Various states operate on different statutes. However, The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, a basis used by the majority, states the following factors in granting alimony:

  • The age and the physical, emotional, and financial condition of the parties
  • The length of time the dependent spouse would need to be self-sufficient
  • And the ability of the supporting spouse to provide for the dependent while still being able to support himself or herself

Recent statistics show that 97% of 400,000 alimony recipients are women. But today’s cultural shifts see more female breadwinners, more wage-earning couples, and more male alimony recipients. Spousal support laws and guidelines have kept up with the times and address this legal matter beyond gender roles.

Why the Need for Spousal Support

In most cases, there will be a spouse who is more financially stable or earns more than the other. The existence of a dependent spouse takes place when one spouse gives up his/her career to invest time in taking care of the family.

Disparities happen when a spouse with higher earning power eventually replaces some or all of the assets, while the dependent spouse will resort to asset liquidation. Alimony comes in and levels this kind of inequality.

Remarriage and Cohabitation

The rules of alimony change in the case of one or both spouses remarrying or finding new life partners.

A dependent spouse’s financial support can meet termination once he/she moves in with a new partner. This is also the case if the dependent spouse commits illicit sexual behavior, then the supporting spouse will be free of financial responsibilities. However, if the supporting spouse commits such acts, then the court awards alimony to the dependent.

Above are only some things one needs to know when considering filing for alimony. Since different states operate under various laws, experts advise to be vigilant and seek the help of a professional.

DUI Laws for Commercial Drivers in Illinois

DUI law book with pen gavel and glassesThe law generally holds drivers of commercial vehicles to a higher standard than drivers of non-commercial vehicles. The main reason being is that commercial drivers are required to drive bigger vehicles, for long distances in extended periods of time, usually carrying precious or hazardous cargo. Due to these reasons, commercial drivers license (CDL) requirements in Illinois are stricter, hence the harsher consequences for violations, especially for DUI offenses.

DUI Punishments for Commercial Drivers

A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Illinois comes with severe penalties. According to state law, which the state adopted the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial drivers are only given two chances prior to having their CDL revoked due to impaired driving. In general, commercial drivers would be suspended from driving a CMV or commercial motor vehicles for 12 months or more if they:

  • Operated a CMV with a 0.04 BAC or blood alcohol content or any trace amount of methamphetamine or marijuana in the bloodstream
  • Declined to undergo an alcohol or drug test, regardless if the commercial driver was operating a commercial vehicle or not
  • Operated a non-commercial motor vehicle with a BAC above the legally allowed BAC limit or if they were found to have methamphetamine or marijuana in the bloodstream
  • Deliberately fled the scene or a traffic or motor accident
  • Operated a vehicle used to commit a felony
  • Operated a commercial motor vehicle while their driving privileges are revoked, canceled, or suspended
  • Committed a negligent or vehicular homicide using a commercial motor vehicle

In addition, if you commit any of the above-mentioned violations while you’re carrying a cargo of hazardous materials that require a placard, you could be disqualified from driving a CMV for up to three years, warns renowned DUI attorneys in Springfield, IL. Furthermore, a second conviction for any DUI-related offense would result in a lifetime disqualification of your commercial driver’s license. This is a total and immediate career killer that would negatively affect your income, particularly if you have a family depending on you.

If you’re facing a DUI charge in Illinois, you also face the possibility of losing your CDL — your career and source of income. Due to this, getting skilled legal representation is crucial. An experienced lawyer could determine a potential defense and all options available to your case.