Get Your Massachusetts Rap Sheet
Personal Massachusetts Criminal Record Request Form, Affidavit of Indigency and Supplement to Affidavit of Indigency
Executive Office of Public Safety & Security
Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
A CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) is a person’s criminal history. You will have a Massachusetts CORI if you have ever been charged with a crime in a state or federal court in Massachusetts, whether your case ended with a conviction, a finding of not guilty, charges were dismissed, or another outcome.
CORI Forms, Applications and Model Policies
Executive Office of Public Safety & Security
Free Massachusetts Statewide Forms & Instructions
Sample Motion to Seal Record
Motion to Seal Record, Findings and Order
Petition to Seal
Commissioner of Probation
Free Massachusetts Self-Help Guides & Instructions
A Guide to Public Access, Sealing & Expungement of District Court Records
District Court Department of the Trial Court
Massachusetts Law About Criminal Records
Massachusetts Trial Court Libraries
Sealing My CORI
Massachusetts Expungement Laws
G How Article
A Primer on Sealing Criminal Records
Massachusetts Bar Association
How to Seal Your Criminal Record
Workforce Central Career Center
How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Massachusetts
How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Massachusetts
How to Expunge a Record in Massachusetts
An interactive tool to determine eligibility for indigent legal service in Massachusetts and for criminal defendants to calculate their state prison sentences
Massachusetts Expungement and Sealing Laws in a Nutshell
Expunging a record means that the record is destroyed and, for all intents and purposes, never existed in the first place. If you have been the victim of identity theft and a criminal record exists with your name, a judge may order that the record be changed so that your name is replaced with “Jane Doe” or “John Doe.” Juvenile arrest records that are kept by police, and abuse prevention orders obtained under fraudulent circumstances are also eligible for expungement.
Sealing a record does not eliminate it, but it makes it much harder for a potential employer to access your criminal record, and it also means that for offenses that occurred many years ago, you can legally answer the question of whether you have ever been convicted of a crime with the answer, “No.” Cases that are eligible to be sealed include convictions of misdemeanors that are at least five years old and certain felony convictions that are at least 10 years old. Other cases include charges that were ultimately dismissed or resulted in a verdict of not guilty.
Sealing of criminal records in Massachusetts is almost never automatic. Essentially, there are three circumstances under which your criminal record may be sealed:
1. Some convictions or admissions may be sealed after a waiting period;
2. Cases that were dismissed without probation or that resulted in a not guilty finding may be eligible for sealing immediately; and
3. A recorded offense that is no longer a crime may be sealed.
Expungement is substantively different from sealing. Expungement essentially erases a criminal record, including police reports and arrest records, as if it never existed. On the other hand, simply getting a record sealed does not erase your record; it merely keeps it confidential on some level. In fact, an order to seal in Massachusetts applies only to court and probation records and does not affect records of arresting agencies.
It is a good idea to request a copy of your rap sheet prior to attempting to seal records so that your eligibility for sealing is clear.
Since 1971 state law has allowed for the sealing of the record of a person convicted of first-time marijuana misdemeanor possession who successfully completes probation. A record, once sealed, “shall not be deemed a conviction for purposes of disqualification or for any other purpose.”
The Six Things You Will Need to Show to Have Your Record Sealed
1. The particular disadvantages identified by you arising from the availability of the criminal record.
2. Evidence of rehabilitation suggesting that you could overcome these disadvantages if the record were sealed.
3. Any other evidence that sealing would alleviate the identified disadvantages.
4. Your relevant circumstances at the time of the offense that suggest a likelihood of recidivism or of success.
5. The passage of time since the offense and since the dismissal or nolle prosequi.
6. The nature of and reasons for the particular disposition.
Free Massachusetts Legal Resources for Sealing & Expunging Criminal Records
CORI Reform Summary
Boston Workers Alliance
Implementing CORI Reform
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
CORI Reform Myths & Facts
The Commonwealth CORI Coalition
Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement(EPOCA) are ex-prisoners and current prisoners, along with allies, friends and family, working together to create resources and opportunities for those who have paid their debt to society.
Community Legal Aid (CLA) is the state-funded civil legal aid program serving central and western Massachusetts. The program provides free civil legal assistance to low-income and elderly residents of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester Counties.
Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) provides free legal assistance and representation on civil (noncriminal) matters to hundreds of the neediest residents in the city of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns.
Massachusetts Justice Project (MJP) is the federally funded Legal Services Corporation provider of free intake and hotline services for eligible clients in the central and western Massachusetts counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire & Worcester.
Merrimack Valley-North Shore Legal Services provides legal aid to those in need. Partnering with Neighborhood Legal Services and Childrens’ Law Center of Massachusetts, it tries to reach all those needing legal services in Northeast Massachusetts.
MetroWest Legal Services provides free legal aid to low-income people in the areas of Family Law, Housing, Homeless Advocacy, Government Benefits (including Social Security), Education, Elder Law, Health Care Access, KidsCare Connection, & Immigration.
South Coastal Counties Legal Services (SCCLS) is a non-profit corporation which provides free civil legal services to low-income and elderly residents of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties, and the towns of Avon and Stoughton.
Neighborhood Legal Services: Northeastern Massachusetts provides free civil legal services to low income and elder residents of Essex and Northern Middlesex Counties, Massachusetts.
The Criminal Justice Policy Coalition is a member-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of effective, just, and humane criminal justice policy in Massachusetts.