NYS Criminal Procedure Law 440.46a Motions
If your former conduct regarding cannabis would still be illegal today, you can ask a court to vacate / erase / expunge / delete your prior conviction, if your old conduct would have resulted in a lesser crime now. You must make a "Motion to Resentence and Vacate" under NY Criminal Procedure Law 440.46a(2)(ii)(a) to do. Let us know if we can help guide you through this process.
There's a form published by the NYS Unified Court System with instructions on how to complete here: https://www.nycourts.gov/LegacyPDFs/forms/criminal/pdfs/MarijuanaResentencingApplicationCPL440.46-a-fillable.pdf. Also, the NYS UCS website has ample information for pro se (self-represented) clients here: https://nycourts.gov/courthelp//Criminal/marihuanaExpunge.shtml. I am firm believer in DIY projects -- the two links have sufficient court information (which was mandated under MRTA for NYS UCS to provide to the public) to file your own "Motion to Resentence and Vacate". If you need 30 minutes to an hour or more of legal counseling, we can assist you because MRTA Law, P.C. has filed a Motion under Criminal Procedure Law 440.46a before.
MRTA § 24. AMENDED Criminal Procedure Law § 440.46-a:
§ 440.46-a Motion for resentence; persons convicted of certain marihuana offenses.
1. When a person is serving a sentence for a conviction in this state, whether by trial verdict or guilty plea, under former article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law, and such persons' conduct as alleged in the accusatory instrument and/or shown by the guilty plea or trial verdict would not have been a crime under article two hundred twenty-two of the penal law, had such article two hundred twenty-two rather than former article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law been in effect at the time of such conduct, then the chief administrative judge of the state of New York shall, in accordance with this section, automatically vacate, dismiss and expunge such conviction in accordance with § 160.50 of this chapter, and the office of court administration shall immediately notify the state division of criminal justice services, state department of corrections and community supervision and the appropriate local correctional facility which shall immediately effectuate the appropriate relief. Such notification to the division of criminal justice services shall also direct that such agency notify all relevant police and law enforcement agencies of their duty to destroy and/or mark records related to such case in accordance with § 160.50 of this chapter. Nothing in this section shall prevent a person who believes his or her sentence is required by this section to be vacated, dismissed and/or expunged from filing a petition with the court to effectuate all appropriate relief.
2. (a) When a person is serving or has completed serving a sentence for a conviction in this state, whether by trial verdict or guilty plea, under former article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law, and such person's conduct as alleged in the accusatory instrument and/or shown by the guilty plea or trial verdict, or shown by other information: (i) would not have been a crime under article two hundred twenty-two of the penal law, had such article two hundred twenty-two rather than former article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law been in effect at the time of such conduct; or (ii) under such circumstances such person would have been guilty of a lesser or potentially less onerous offense under such article two hundred twenty-two than such former article two hundred twenty-one of the penal law; then such person may petition the court of conviction pursuant to this article for vacatur of such conviction.
(b) (i) Upon receiving a served and filed motion under paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the court shall presume that any conviction by plea was not knowing, voluntary and intelligent and that any conviction by verdict and any accompanying sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under the state constitution if either has severe or ongoing consequences, including but not limited to potential or actual immigration consequences; and the court shall further presume that the movant satisfies the criteria in such paragraph (a) and thereupon make such finding and grant the motion to vacate such conviction on such grounds in a written order unless the party opposing the motion proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that the movant does not satisfy the criteria to bring such motion. (ii) If the petition meets the criteria in subparagraph (i) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, the court after affording the parties an opportunity to be heard and present evidence, may substitute, unless it is not in the interests of justice to do so, a conviction for an appropriate lesser offense under article two hundred twenty-two of the penal law.
(c) In the event of any vacatur and/or substitution pursuant to this subdivision, the office of court administration shall immediately notify the state division of criminal justice services concerning such determination. Such notification to the division of criminal justice services shall also direct that such agency notify all relevant police and law enforcement agencies of their duty to destroy and/or mark records related to such case in accordance with § 160.50 of this chapter or, where conviction for a crime is substituted pursuant to this subdivision, update such agencies' records accordingly.
3. Under no circumstances may substitution under this section result in the imposition of a term of imprisonment or sentencing term, obligation or condition that is in any way either harsher than the original sentence or harsher than the sentence authorized for any substituted lesser offense.
4. (a) If the judge who originally sentenced the movant for such offense is not reasonably available, then the presiding judge for such court shall designate another judge authorized to act in the appropriate jurisdiction to determine the petition or application.
(b) Unless requested by the movant, no hearing is necessary to grant an application filed under subdivision two of this section.
(c) When a felony conviction is vacated pursuant to this section and a lesser offense that is a misdemeanor or violation is substituted for such conviction, such lesser offense shall be considered a misdemeanor or violation, as the case may be, for all purposes. When a misdemeanor conviction is vacated pursuant to this section and a lesser offense that is a violation is substituted for such conviction, such lesser offense shall be considered a violation for all purposes.
(d) Nothing in this section is intended to or shall diminish or abrogate any rights or remedies otherwise available to a defendant, petitioner or applicant. Relief under this section is available notwithstanding that the judgment was for a violation of former §§ 221.05, 221.10, 221.15, 221.20, 221.35 or 221.40 of the penal law in effect prior to the effective date of this paragraph and that the underlying action or proceeding has already been vacated, dismissed and expunged.
(e) Nothing in this and related sections of law is intended to diminish or abrogate the finality of judgments in any case not falling within the purview of this section.
(f) The provisions of this section shall be available, used and applied in parallel fashion by the family court and the criminal courts to juvenile delinquency adjudications, adolescent offender adjudications and youthful offender adjudications.
(g) The chief administrator of the courts shall promulgate all necessary rules and make available all necessary forms to enable the filing of the petitions and applications provided in this section no later than sixty days following the effective date of this section. All sentences eligible for automatic vacatur, dismissal and expungement pursuant to subdivision one of this section shall be identified and the required entities notified within one year of the effective date of this section.