In 2009 New York enacted drug reform laws which modified the draconian provisions of the so-called Rockefeller Drug Laws, which had been around since 1973.
As a result of the Drug Law Reform, mandatory minimum prison sentences for first and some second-time non-violent felony drug offenses have been eliminated
Also, mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain classes of property offenses related to drug use have been eliminated.
Judges now have the discretion to impose mandated treatment programs instead of prison (diversion) for all but the most serious drug offenders.
Certain drug convictions can now be conditionally sealed, or removed from an offender’s record, pursuant to CPL section 160.58. A convicted offender can benefit from this statute if he or she attended :
(i) a judicial diversion program under article 216 of the Criminal Procedure Law;
(ii) one of the programs heretofore known as drug treatment alternative to prison; or
(iii) another judicially sanctioned drug treatment program of similar duration, requirements and level of supervision” as (i) and (ii).
New York State does not have an expungement statute, and it is far less likely that a criminal record will ever be sealed in New York than in most other states. Therefore, this sealing provision is an important, if frequently overlooked, aspect of the New York Drug Reform Law.
Remember, nothing contained in this article constitutes legal advice, nor should it be treated as legal advice. Also, laws change constantly, so do your own research or hire an attorney to make sure the laws mentioned here have not changed. You may wish to consult an attorney to evaluate your particular situation.