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 15 years, misdemeanors after 10 years. The waiting period begins after the final disposition has been entered on the case. In other words, when the case has ended in court, when probation has ended, or when a person is released from prison or parole, whichever is latest.
- 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 15 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. The value of the sealing to the defendant must outweigh the constitutional value of the record remaining open to 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 10-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
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.