SEALING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD
I recently attended a training on the sealing and expungement of criminal records in Massachusetts. The laws regarding sealing and expungement update frequently. The following is a summary of the current law in Massachusetts:
Sealing conviction records:
The conviction sealing process is governed by MGL c. 276, § 100A. You can ask the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS) to seal some criminal convictions. You can ask to seal a criminal record under these circumstances:
▸ Misdemeanor – 3 years after you were found guilty or after any jail or prison time, whichever date is later.
▸ Felony – 7 years after you were found guilty or after any jail or prison time, whichever date is later.
▸ Additionally, you can move to seal a conviction for resisting arrest.
Sealing records without convictions:
The non-conviction sealing process is governed by MGL c. 276, § 100C. You can ask the court where the offense originated to request to seal a criminal court record without a conviction for the following case results:
▸ Not guilty finding by a court or a jury
▸ No bill returned by a grand jury (failure to indict)
▸ No probable cause finding by a court
▸ Dismissal without probation entered by a court
▸ Nolle prosequi entered (entry on the record of no further prosecution by the prosecutor)
Sealing or expunging your record after a period without a further offense can improve your ability to secure employment and housing opportunities. For some people the process is as simple as sending a form with the request to seal and for others, this process requires a court hearing. Several factors affect a person’s right to seal or expunge their past records. If you are curious about your right to seal or expunge your record, contact me to discuss your personal situation.
Vargo Law, Attorney Michelle Vargo – 413-781-3000 – vargolawoffice.com.