The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a crisis for both landlords and tenants in New York State. Given the government-levied pause on evictions, landlords have effectively been unable to collect rent for more than one (1) year and tenants, due to illness and unemployment, have fallen behind on regular rent payments.
A Criminal Record Can Block You From Living Your Life.
A conviction for even a minor criminal offense (like marijuana possession) can mean a life sentence of sorts. Your criminal record can block you from getting a job, attending school, voting, borrowing money, obtaining certain licenses, and qualifying for certain services for your family.
It is a real problem, affecting many people. In 2018 alone, 663,367 people were arrested for cannabis-related offenses (40% of all U.S. drug arrests). But relief is on the way for some under New York’s new Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. A somewhat overlooked provision of the MRTA provides for automatic expungement (erasing) of records for individuals with previous convictions that are no longer crimes. Additionally, the MRTA provides the ability to reduce certain sentences, meaning an individual’s felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor.