Massachusetts has no provision for expungement convictions. Some adult cases are immediately sealed, including cases involving the dismissal or acquittal of criminal charges. Other adult records can be sealed after a ten to fifteen-year waiting period, as designated by the court. Expungement in Massachusetts allows an individual to state that no record ever existed. This includes stating as such on employment applications as the record will not hinder the chances for obtaining employment. However after a person has been found guilt of a similar sentence, the expunged sentence will be made available to the probation officer. The exceptions to this rule include verdicts of not guilty, no bill verdicts, and no probable cause verdicts.
Juveniles, on the other hand, must wait at least three years before their records may be sealed under Massachusetts Law 276-100B. To qualify for sealing, a juvenile must not have an adjudication of delinquency or be guilty of other crimes during the three-year period. Once juvenile records are sealed, they cannot be used against the juvenile before or after becoming an adult to disqualify him or her from seeking employment but can be used as prior offenses in future criminal proceedings. Juveniles can also be pardoned of an offense through the governor. After the governor has approved a petition for pardoning, he or she will request that all officers seal the individual's records relating to the offense. After a pardoning, the individual will be able to apply for employment, apply for housing, apply for credit, and apply for financial aid. The pardoned records cannot be used in a hearing before any board, agency, or commission except in a subsequent sentence.
Records of Eligibility
Usually offenses in relation to controlled substances cannot have records sealed, even several years after the entire sentence has been completed. Section 34 handles the sealing of controlled substances records. When a crime has been deemed dismissed, acquitted, or indicted nolle prosses, the court will order all official records in relation to the indictment, arrest, conviction, discharge, or continuance to be sealed. This allows the police and other law enforcement services to have access to the records but denies access to the public for any purpose. Particular erroneous felony offenses are available for expungement under section 258D.
Any individual who has a record of dispositions and criminal court appearances may request that the commissioner seal the file. This request will be granted if the record pertains to a misdemeanor that occurred ten or more years prior to the request; the individual's record pertains to any felony that occurred fifteen or more years prior to the request; the individual has not been found guilty of another criminal offense within the past ten years prior to the request--with the exception of motor vehicle offenses where the punishment was under fifty dollars--the individual has not been convicted of any criminal offense in another state and has not been imprisoned in any other county or state within ten years; and if the individual's record does not include offense convictions of any other section--such as unlawful firearm sales and unlawful possession of firearms. See also:
Massachusetts Felony External link (opens in new window)
Massachusetts Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Massachusetts Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)