Statistics reveal that annually there are over 10 million arrests made throughout the United States, which results in millions of people with a permanent criminal record. Unfortunately, a criminal record can have a substantial impact on a person’s career, education, and future goals. Fortunately, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are various ways to expunge or seal records that offer the opportunity to plan for a future without the obstacles created by having a criminal record.
The Expungement Process in Massachusetts
Expungement is a process that “erases” your criminal record. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, expungement is only offered in a limited set of circumstances, which include situations involving erroneous or wrongful convictions as well as criminal records that are incorrectly made under the wrong identity. During the expungement process, you will petition the court to grant an expungement of your record. To be granted an expungement, you must demonstrate that your record is eligible for expungement. Because the expungement process is particularly complicated, it is often a wise idea to obtain the assistance of a skilled attorney to help you navigate through it..
Sealing Criminal Records in Massachusetts
Sealing a record is not the same as expunging it. When you seal a record, you greatly limit the number of people who are able to access information about your criminal past. As a result, employers who might hire you are unable to see these records. Massachusetts law allows certain cases without a conviction to be sealed. These cases includes situations in which a person was found not guilty by a jury, dismissals without probation, or failure to indict by a grand jury.
Much like the expungement process, sealing a record in Massachusetts involves a complex body of laws, which is why many people find it essential to obtain the assistance of a seasoned attorney.
The way in which records are sealed is divided by the offense’s classification:
Juvenile Offenses. Records are allowed to be sealed after a three year waiting period.
Misdemeanors. Records are allowed to be sealed five years after you were convicted or completed your sentence.
Felonies. Records are allowed to be sealed ten years after you were found guilty or completed your sentence.
To have a record sealed in such a way, a person is prohibited from committed another offense of any type during the waiting period. The process to have a record sealed is similar to how records are expunged in Massachusetts, which is means that it is very helpful to have a knowledgeable lawyer guide you through this process, as well.
Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are interested in expunging or sealing a criminal record in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to contact a seasoned attorney who understands the numerous complex laws that control this process. In his years of experience, attorney Edward Molari has helped many people navigate the expungement and record sealing process and he will remain committed to obtaining the results you deserve.