Those individuals who are worried about their criminal record costing them a job opportunity can breathe a sigh of relief after the Massachusetts Probation Service revamped its criminal record sealing procedures. The process of sealing a criminal record in Massachusetts used to take months, but now can be resolved in a matter of days, according to a recent article in the Boston Globe. Workers at the Massachusetts Probation Service have reduced the backlog of cases seeking sealing and now can process an application within a few days turnaround time.
Most Criminal Records Can Be Sealed
In 2012, Massachusetts revised its law of sealing criminal records. Under the law, criminal records for certain criminal offenses can be sealed five years after a misdemeanor conviction and ten years after a felony conviction. With the wait time for becoming eligible to seal criminal records being reduced, the state saw a dramatic increase in the number of individuals applying to have their records sealed, and it created a backlog.
There are certain crimes that are exempt from sealing, meaning that the record of these convictions cannot be sealed from public review. These offenses can include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual crimes
- Resisting arrest
- Ethics violations
- Witness intimidation
- Bribing witnesses, state agents or legislators
- Disruptions to court proceedings
- Escaping from custody
- Providing contraband to prison inmates
- Concealing felonies
Why is it Important to Have Your Criminal Record Sealed?
When a person is convicted, the charges are dismissed, or even if the person is found not guilty of a crime, that person will be given Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) concerning that offense. A person’s CORI is searchable and employers often run background checks on prospective hires. Many employers will drop an otherwise qualified job applicant if they have a criminal past. Sometimes, employers do not even consider what the offense was, whether the charges were dropped, or whether the person was found not guilty – the employer simply throws out any applicant’s resume if they have a criminal record at all. While this is unfair, employers are within their rights to do this.
Having a criminal record can hold you back. CORI can keep you from getting a job and can keep you from living your life. It can stall out job opportunities, which in turn can prevent you from earning more money or gaining experience in a field of work in which you want to pursue a career.
Need Criminal Defense or Help Sealing Your Criminal Record in Massachusetts?
You should not let your criminal past control your life forever. When you have past offenses that are eligible to be sealed, you should take action immediately.