Steps to Remove Records in Massachusetts

Massachusetts criminal records cases that contain a history of court conviction in the past 5 years (misdemeanors) and 10 years (felonies), may be eligible for an arrest expungement. In Massachusetts, there are two (2) methods of expunging criminal records: 1) by mail, or 2) through the court with differing rules to application and decision. According to Massachusetts expungement law, most criminal records are eligible to be sealed by mail after a waiting period for each designated level of conviction. In some circumstances, the law allows for expungement of criminal record by court prior to the standard terms for conviction being completed (such a jail-time or probation). The State guidelines for a court procedure to expunge or seal a record indicate that all convictions are eligible for expungement in Massachusetts at end of term or, in other words, once all time has been served and all penalties paid.

In cases where a defendant has been found not-guilty or the case has been dismissed for nolle prosequi or other reasons, the normal five to ten hold is in effect from the date of disposition. Dismissals, not guilty rulings and nolle prosequi resulting in District Attorney dropping of the case, can be expunged by mail without the standard term waiting period or by going to court. Due to the fact that there is no waiting period to file for a petition to expunge non-conviction or Commissioner of Probation administration error, the mail in process for sealing criminal records in Massachusetts is recommended.

Misdemeanors treated as felonies (i.e. abuse, harassment) require the full ten year term to be considered. Registered sex offenders may be considered for expungement fifteen years after the conviction on record. What are considered to be Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders may never seal criminal convictions for sex offenses (i.e. assault with intent to rape, drugging a person for sex, rape of a child).Registered sex offenders are also ineligible to seal any criminal case until their original case is expunged.

Some firearms offenses such as ammunition or gun sales without a registered firearms license, or alternately, purchase of a gun from an unlicensed dealer are ineligible for sealing of criminal record. Other crimes that meet ineligibility criteria are crimes against the public (i.e. aiding institutional escapes, perjury in court, resisting arrest and witness intimidation). Public officials commissioning state ethics violations are not eligible for expungement of record.

CORI Mistakes
Distinct from expungement of record are CORI complaints. Massachusette’s CORI stores court database records. Mistakes that show up on CORI reports may include incorrect nomenclature or misspelling, birthdays, location of birth, Social Security number and aliases never used by you on record. Also relevant to CORI corrections is information from civil or criminal proceedings 1) a case that is closed but listed as open, 2) cases where a defendant was found not guilty but listed as dismissed or 3) cases listed under an incorrect name that are either active or closed.