Is Sealing a Criminal Record something you need to address to get a job, credit or housing?
Perhaps you have a minor offense on your record that happened years ago, when you were young and stupid, and now it is preventing you from getting certain jobs or housing or credit. Maybe it is also affecting your reputation with your family and friends, or even the community at large. If so, you may be able to get your record sealed so that it no longer affects your life.
Sealing a Criminal Record is not the same as expungement (erasing it). Massachusetts law does not allow for expungement (unless it was a matter of false identity), but it does allow your criminal record to be sealed, which means most employers, landlords and others will not be able to see your record when they do a CORI check.
Sealing a Criminal Record if you were not convicted
In cases where you have not been convicted, for example, you may have been given a CWOF (continuation without a finding), or you were acquitted at trial, or your case was nolle prosequi (no prosecution), or dismissed, then it is possible to petition the court to have your record sealed immediately. You will need to fill in the relevant petition forms, present a motion and/or affidavit. You may or may not be called for a hearing based on your petition.
Sealing a Criminal Record if you were convicted
If you have been convicted of a felony, then you will have to wait 10 years before your record can be sealed. A misdemeanor requires you to wait 5 years from the time you were found guilty or from the date of release from incarceration. In either case, you must not have been charged with another crime.
If you were found guilty of a sex offense, then you must wait 15 years after you were found guilty or after any jail or prison time or after you no longer need to register as a sex offender. The count starts from the later date. Sex offenders that are Level 2 or Level 3 cannot seal their record. You can also have a record sealed if what you were convicted of is no longer a crime in Massachusetts.
For advice on sealing your record, contact The Law Offices of Elliot Savitz, Scott Bradley & Kenneth Diesenhof. Our attorneys have helped clients across the state seal their records and get their life back on track. Your initial consultation is free, with absolutely no obligation.