Sealing a Criminal Record

Serving the Eastern Massachusetts area

If you are charged with a criminal offense, there may be repercussions even if the case is dismissed or you are found not guilty. Simply having a criminal record can create a barrier to employment, education, and civic opportunities. Having your record sealed can protect against these potential challenges and any embarrassment the record may cause.

In Massachusetts, the record that lists all criminal offenses is called a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI). Once the record is sealed, the CORI reads “no adult criminal record on file.” If your record has been sealed, you can legally answer "no record" if an employer asks you if you have a criminal record.

Quality legal support

Dedham criminal defense lawyer John E. DeVito, Esq. is experienced in all areas of criminal law, including sealing a criminal record. While the process is complicated, Mr. DeVito handles all of the details and keeps you apprised of the progress until your record is sealed.

Sealing a record in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, there are three ways to seal a criminal record:

  • Waiting period: Felony offenses may be sealed after 10 years, misdemeanors after 5 years. The waiting period begins after the disposition has entered in a case, unless the defendant has been incarcerated. If incarcerated, the waiting period begins to run when the defendant is released from incarceration. Any subsequent conviction causes the waiting period to begin a new.
  • Dismissal, Not Guilty, Probable Cause, Nolle Prosequi: If a defendant's case ended with a dismissal, a not guilty finding, no probable cause, or a nolle prosequi (district attorney decided not to prosecute the case), the defendant does not have to wait 10 or 5 years. Instead, the defendant may petition the court to have the record sealed.
  • A record can only be sealed if the defendant can prove that substantial justice requires a sealing, That is, the defendent must establish that good cause exists for sealing. Sealing concerns the balance between the public's right of access to criminal court records and the state's compelling interests in providing privacy protection for former criminal defendants to enable them to fully participate in society. This can be a difficult balancing act. A qualified criminal defense lawyer like Mr. DeVito has the experience necessary to navigate this complicated process.
  • Drug possession offenses: Certain misdemeanor drug possession offenses may be sealed by statute without the 5-year waiting period. This includes convictions of possession of marijuana or a Class E controlled substance. The court will also seal a record if the defendant was found not guilty of possession of a controlled substance, or the case was dismissed or ended in a nolle prosequi.

Contact John E. DeVito, Esq. today

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If you have a criminal record in Massachusetts you would like sealed, contact Dedham criminal lawyer John E. DeVito, Esq. for assistance today. Mr. DeVito represents clients in Boston, Dedham, Wrentham, Stoughton, Quincy, Waltham, Woburn, Newton, Framingham, Natick and other cities in Middlesex & Norfolk County, MA.