Who can get a criminal record expunged?

Find out who can expunge their criminal record. Learn how to do it and get details about the process.

The law in Massachusetts has a system in place to help anyone who has had a criminal charge. This expungement process allows a person to seal his or her criminal record. Doing this can help a person to avoid many of the issues that plague felons. However, not every person is eligible for expungement.

Requirements for expungement

According to Mass.gov, the state has two expungement options. It all depends on how a person qualifies. One option is based on the time since the offense, and the other one is not. The non-time based option is limited to people who have had their identity stolen or whose conviction was due to errors by legal professionals.

The time-based option is for those who have a legitimate conviction. However, it is only for those whose conviction occurred before they turned 21 years old. In addition, it is only for certain crimes. If a person's crime caused harm to another person, involved a sex crime or weapon or was against an elderly person, then it does not qualify for expungement.

In addition, the time-based option requires waiting at least seven years since completing the sentence for the crime if it is a felony and three years if it is a misdemeanor. Finally, a person cannot have other convictions or court cases besides the one they wish to seal.

How the court decides to expunge

Expungement is not a guarantee in every case. Even if a person meets all the requirements, the court does not have to seal his or her criminal record. The court will consider a few different factors, according to Mass.gov.

These factors include the facts of the original case, the time since the conviction, if the person shows signs of rehabilitation, any disadvantages the person suffers from having a criminal record and any other evidence of how sealing record could help the person.

Getting a record expunged

For a person to get a criminal record expungement, he or she must file a petition in court. This also requires including paperwork, such as a copy of his or her criminal record and original court documents. It can take some time for the process and may require multiple appearances in court.

If you or someone you care about want to explore getting a criminal record expungement, then you should speak with an attorney, such as Doran & Doran, P.C. An attorney can help you navigate the system and assist throughout the process.