MM, a 38 year old woman from Methuen had a 12 page criminal record with 32 separate offenses spanning 15 years. Her record included both felonies and misdemeanors. She worked as a phlebotomist but wanted to go to Nursing School to become an RN. She was concerned – rightfully – that her criminal record would cripple any chance she had of becoming a nurse and sought to get her record sealed.
In Massachusetts there are two ways to get criminal records sealed. Certain criminal records can be sealed administratively by simply submitting a Petition To Seal to the Commissioner of Probation in Boston. These Petitions do not require a court hearing and if all the time requirements are met these Petitions are allowed automatically. Other criminal records require submitting a Petition To Seal to the Court where the case was heard. These Petitions require a hearing before a Judge in Court and the Judge has discretion to either grant the Petition or deny the Petition.
MM’s criminal record began in 2001 and ended in 2015. Twenty-seven of the cases on her record met the timing (and other) requirements for administrative sealing. Five of the cases on her record (all felony charges) did not meet the requirements for administratively sealing and required a court hearing. These felony charges included Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Malicious Destruction of Property, Conspiracy, Insurance Fraud, and Filing as False Motor Vehicle Claim. MM sought out a lawyer. MM met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately ran a copy of MM’s CORI (Criminal Record) and was able to determine which cases could be sealed administratively and which cases required a court hearing.
Attorney Lewin quickly prepared the Administrative Petition to Seal MM’s record, had MM sign it, and then submitted the Petition to the Commissioner of Probation. On February 26, 2021 the Commissioner of Probation grated the Administrative Petition to Seal 27 of the 32 cases on MM’s record.
At the same time Attorney Lewin prepared a Petition to Seal the five remaining felony cases on MM’s record and submitted the Petition to Lawrence District Court. On February 3, 2021 – after a full in court hearing before a Judge – the Judge granted MM’s Petition to Seal her five felony cases. Attorney Lewin in his presentation to the Judge pointed out how MM had been trouble free since 2015; that she was working full time; and that she wished to become enrolled in college to become a registered nurse. Attorney Lewin explained to the Judge how these criminal charges could derail MM’s plans to go to college and to become a nurse. The Judge agreed and ordered the record of these five felony charges sealed.
When the dust settled all 32 of the charges on MM’s criminal record were sealed. Attorney Lewin always runs a test record to make sure that the cases are sealed. On March 19, 2021 Attorney Lewin ran MM’s CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) and the CORI came back NO RECORD. MM was very happy with the result and is now applying to nursing school.