Checking your own Criminal Record in New York

We are often asked questions by clients about whether a particular disposition of criminal charges will show up in future background checks they may undergo for employment purposes. While the extent and depth of any particular background check will always vary depending on an individual employer being a private entity or governmental entity, every person in New York has the ability to check their own official criminal history report, or rap sheet, to see what is there.

In New York State, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is responsible for maintaining the official state records of individuals convicted of crimes in the state. State regulations allow any person to receive a copy of their DCJS criminal history report so that they may know for certain what is on their rap sheet for future purposes such as employment or licensing applications. The process of obtaining a copy of your criminal history is known as a Personal Record Review. A request for a Personal Record Review can be made only by the individual themselves or their designated attorney. You cannot request the criminal record of another individual in an effort to learn about that person’s history. Information on requesting a copy of your DCJS criminal history can be found on the DCJS website at: https://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/ojis/recordreview.htm.

When requesting your own DCJS report, you have two options as to the type of record you may request. The first type of report is known as an Unsuppressed Report. The unsuppressed report will list ALL criminal record information, including charges that were suppressed or legally sealed by a court, including charges that were dismissed, eligible violation/infraction convictions, and charges for which you were granted a youthful offender adjudication. The second type of DCJS report that you may obtain is known as a Suppressed Report. A suppressed personal record review does NOT include any charges that were dismissed or legally sealed by a court.

Correcting errors on your DCJS report

If after receiving and reviewing your own DCJS report you find what you believe to be an error, there is a process by which you can seek to correct that error. If the erroneous information pertains to arrest information, you must contact the police agency that made the arrest and request that the agency submit the changes to DCJS. If you believe that a conviction is inaccurately reported, or that it should have never been reported, you must contact the court from which the conviction came, request a certified criminal disposition report, and forward it to DCJS, requesting that the changes be made.

Accessing Sealed Criminal Matters

So who can get access to criminal charges that were dismissed or sealed by a court? Generally speaking, if a criminal charge was sealed by a court, it would not be included on a person’s DCJS rap sheet. However, there are certain exceptions where sealed criminal matters may be released, including in response to a fingerprint-based criminal background check on individuals seeking employment as a police officer and for those individuals seeking a pistol permit.

Talk to US for Guidance

If you have any questions about your prior criminal record and what impact it can have on your future plans, contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Cambareri & Brenneck to determine what you can expect in the future for any prior mistakes from your past.