Sealing Criminal Records
At Urbelis Law, we have an extensive criminal record sealing practice. Attorney Urbelis frequently teaches other lawyers about the new Massachusetts Criminal Record sealing statutes, the practical effects of sealing different record types, and the ins and outs of representing clients through this unique area of the law. Attorney Urbelis has also written articles on this topic for Lawyer’s Weekly, the most highly circulated publication for lawyers in Massachusetts.
If you have ever been arrested or arraigned on a criminal charge, even if the charge was dismissed or ended with a “Not Guilty” verdict, you currently have a CORI (criminal offender record information) report. That means that it could show up on any routine background check. Fortunately, it may be possible to seal this record- even if you were convicted of a misdemeanor charge.
Under MGL c. 276 s. 100A, If the end of all probation supervision for your last misdemeanor conviction is more than 3 years old, and 7 years for any felonies (with a short list of statutory exceptions), we can help you through the process of sealing your criminal record without the need to ever appear in court (which means a lower fee for you!). There are some exceptions to this section of the record sealing laws, so we will need to review your full CORI report before petitioning the Commissioner of Probation to seal your record.
If you have a misdemeanor or felony charge but were not convicted, and your case resulted in a “Not Guilty”, straight dismissal, Nolle Prosequi, or a dismissal after completing the terms of your CWOF, we may petition the Court to seal your record, even if less than 3 years has passed since the end of your misdemeanor case, or 7 years since your felony case, pursuant to MGL c. 276 s. 100C. In fact, there is no "waiting period" to start this process, so long as the dismissal has been entered on your case. This process usually requires at least two court appearances by your attorney, and your presence will usually be required at the final hearing. The judge must find that “substantial justice would be best be served” by sealing your record in order for the petition to be allowed. We have been highly successful with the written and oral advocacy for petitions to seal criminal records, and are recognized as zealous advocates in this area of the law.
A common misconception is that once your record is sealed, a background check will show “sealed record.” THAT IS 100% FALSE. Once your Massachusetts record has been sealed, it will show “no record.” It is as if the charge never happened. However, there are very limited entities that have statutory authority to still see your record once it’s been sealed, for public policy reasons- background checks for certain jobs where you’d regularly be working with children or the elderly, firearm licensing authorities, law enforcement, and adoption agencies. However, every other background check will show “no record” once your CORI has been sealed.
If you have questions relating to criminal record sealing, or if you are seeking representation in this area, contact our office: