Overview Description

Records of a misdemeanor case may be sealed by the commissioner of probation three years after sentence completion, if petitioner meets specified criteria. ALM GL ch. 276, § 100A.

Ineligible Category or Citation

See ineligble offenses at ALM GL ch 276, section 100A.

Procedure General

A petition form must be filed with the commissioner of probation. The petition can be mailed or hand-delivered. For the specific procedure, see ALM GL ch. 276, § 100A.

Fees

There is no fee.

Effect

Sealed records will not disqualify the person from public service or employment by the state. The person can tell prospective employers they have no criminal record, and court officials report that no record exists. The sealed record is not admissible and cannot be used in court or most other proceedings, though law enforcement retains access to sealed records. ALM GL ch. 276, §§ 100A, 100C, 100D.

Forms

For a petition to seal records in Massachusetts, visit here.

Waiting Periods

Once the case is closed, a petition may be filed five years after the date of conviction or release from incarceration, whichever is later. Parole and probation do not extend the waiting period.

If a case was dismissed, nolle prossed, or ended in a not guilty finding, the waiting period usually starts on the date of dismissal or final disposition. However, if the dismissal is after a continuance without a finding (CWOF), the waiting period runs from the date of the CWOF rather than the later date when the case was dismissed.

(non-prod server)