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.