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Petitions to Seal

A criminal conviction can create difficulties later in life when you are applying for a job, for financial aid, for a loan or an apartment. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to seal your criminal record even if you’ve pled guilty to a crime or been have been convicted of one. At the Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm, our Boston attorneys regularly prepare, present and argue motions (or “petitions”) to seal for clients who want to seal their criminal records.

In Massachusetts, CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) reform went into effect in May of 2012. As a result, if a charge against you was dismissed, your chances of getting it sealed have improved, whether it was an outright dismissal, or a dismissal after a period of pre-trial probation, or a dismissal after the charge was initially continued without a finding. If you pled guilty or were found guilty of a charge, you may have to wait a certain number of years before petitioning the court to seal your record. An experienced and competent attorney can properly advise you regarding the feasibility and desirability of filing a motion to seal your criminal record. Do not, however, assume that a criminal record must follow you throughout your life.

Massachusetts Criminal Convictions You May be Able to Seal

The following is only a short — and not exhaustive — list of possible criminal charges you may be able to seal:

Traps for the Unwary

Most people — and actually, most criminal defense attorneys, quite frankly — are not aware of the potential pitfalls of an improperly sealed record. At the Yannetti Criminal Defense Law Firm, we have been successfully filing petitions to seal on behalf of our clients for well over a decade. Before proceeding with a petition to seal, we insist on investigating the status of our clients’ criminal records, to ensure their accuracy. There are certified copies of court documents that must be obtained. There are also preliminary steps that must be taken with governmental bureaucracies before proceeding. If you consult with another lawyer who advises you that the sealing process is quick and easy, you may be falling into a trap. Call us to get our perspective based upon our training, experience and knowledge.

What a Sealed Criminal Record Means

Once your criminal record is sealed — and assuming that you have no other criminal history — a search conducted by the Massachusetts Criminal History Systems Board should produce the answer that you have “no criminal record.” Consequently, when applying for a job, you may legally indicate on your application that you have never been convicted of any criminal offense. More importantly, you may also answer that you have never been charged or arrested for a criminal offense — even though actually you had! The Massachusetts sealing statute authorizes such an answer. Since employers and information agencies use the Criminal History Systems Board for background checks, your record will once again be clean. Please note, however, that there may be different requirements for federal agencies and/or background checks supported by fingerprints.

Call for a Free Consultation with A Massachusetts Criminal Record Expungement Attorney

Attorney Yannetti and his associates have had considerable success in filing petitions or motions to seal and we understand what needs to be done in order to increase your chances of sealing your records. If you have questions regarding the potential sealing of your Massachusetts criminal record, contact a lawyer online, or call 617-297-9213 for a free phone consultation.

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