ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A new act signed by Governor Hochul Thursday will allow for certain criminal records to be sealed, years after an individual is sentenced or released from incarceration on certain aspects.

The ‘Clean Slate Act’ will apply to individuals who were not subsequently convicted of an additional criminal act. After their release, those with eligible misdemeanor convictions will be sealed after three years. Criminal records for those with certain felony convictions will be sealed after eight years.

The act will take effect in one year. According to Governor Hochul’s office, the New York State Office of Court Administration will be provided with up to three years from that date to implement processes necessary to identify and seal any eligible records.

Records will not be sealed to law enforcement or the criminal justice system, and will also not be sealed to the following individuals convicted of:

  • Sex offenses
  • Murder
  • Domestic terror
  • Other non-drug Class A felonies

Additionally, the records will not be sealed until parole or probation is completed, and there are no criminal charges in New York State. Governor Hochul’s office said the clock will restart if parole or probation is revoked, or if there is a new conviction.

In a response to the signing of the act, Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt says the bill is “alarming.”

As public safety remains on the mind of every New Yorker, Governor Hochul has signed another bill that continues the alarming trend of disastrous criminal justice “reforms” that have made our communities less safe. 

Under this law, criminals convicted of some of the most violent offenses – including attempted murder, gang assault, arson, and animal abuse, just to name a few – will be eligible to have their records sealed. As we see a dramatic rise in antisemitism, even hate crimes would be sealable. Meanwhile, there is no “clean slate” for the victims and loved ones whose lives have been devastated. 

There should be no question in the minds of New Yorkers: Albany Democrats will always prioritize criminals over victims and law-abiding citizens.

Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt

New York will become the twelfth state in the nation to sign this legislation.