A criminal conviction could follow you for years. It can affect your ability to get a job, find housing, or get a loan — not to mention damaging your personal and professional reputation. Sealing your record, also known as your criminal offender record information (CORI), means you are making those records inaccessible to most people and entities.
Having a record sealed is a powerful way to help protect your reputation and start with a clean slate. However, this option is not available to everyone in Massachusetts and can be a complicated process. Having an experienced criminal record-sealing attorney on your side may help give you the best chance possible at a positive outcome for your situation.
Questions about whether your criminal record can be sealed? Talk to an experienced attorney at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan for answers. Call or contact us today to get started.
Sealing a Conviction
Massachusetts law allows some criminal convictions to be sealed. Once a record is sealed, only certain law enforcement agencies and specific entities will have access to your criminal record. The general public, landlords, schools, and most employers will be unable to see your record. You can also legally tell potential employers and educational institutions that you have no criminal record.
A sealed record doesn’t mean that the criminal conviction goes away. But it does give individuals a second chance and the means to re-enter society without the hardships that can come from having a criminal record.
To begin the process of sealing a conviction, paperwork must be filed with the Commissioner of Probation. The Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS) will only consider sealing certain convictions:
- Misdemeanors: You may apply three years after they are found guilty or after any jail or prison time is served, whichever date is later.
- Felonies: You can apply seven years after they are found guilty or after any jail or prison time is served, whichever is later.
You may also be able to seal a conviction for resisting arrest.
Which Types of Convictions Cannot Be Sealed?
Certain crimes will remain on an individual’s record with no option to seal. These crimes tend to involve crimes of a sexual nature, Ethics Act violations, crimes against the public, and some firearms offenses.
Example: If a sexual crime resulted in an individual having to register as a sex offender, that person is not eligible to have their record sealed. Selling ammunition or guns without a license or buying a gun from an unlicensed dealer are also crimes that cannot be sealed.
Sealing Other Dispositions
Many people don’t realize that you can have a criminal record even if you weren’t convicted of the crime. You can seal these records, too.
If an individual is found not guilty, the case was dropped or dismissed by the prosecution, or a grand jury fails to indict them, a judge can seal the case without a waiting period.
Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Record-Sealing Lawyer Today
The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan can help you get a fresh start if you’ve been charged or convicted of a crime. Call or contact us online today for a free consultation to learn how to seal a criminal record in Massachusetts.