Articles Posted in Seal Criminal Record

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Significant changes to the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) law go into effect on May 4, 2012. Under the 2010 CORI reform we have already seen changes that were implemented as of November 4, 2010. As of that date employers are banned from asking questions about your criminal history on the initial written job application,unless the conviction information is required for a particular job pursuant to federal or state law. As of May 4, 2012, an employer must provide a copy of any criminal record information in that employer’s possession prior to questioning an applicant about their criminal history. If an adverse employment decision is made due to that individual’s criminal record, the prospective employer must give the job seeker a copy of the record that their decision was based upon.

SEALING YOUR CORI/WAITING PERIODS

One of the most significant changes under the new CORI reform relates to the waiting periods for sealing felony and misdemeanor cases. Under the new law the waiting period for sealing is now 10 years for felonies and 5 years for misdemeanors. The clock begins to tick when an individual is released from incarceration. If the sentence did not include a period of incarceration, the clock begins to tech at the time all court proceedings have been included including the end of any probationary term. It is important to note that an intervening conviction will reset the clock. Moreover, sealing your record does not occur automatically. It is very important to hire an experienced Massachusetts CORI rights defense attorney who will be able to review your entire criminal history, scan it for potential errors and inaccurate information, and file paperwork to correct your record so that you may be able eligible for sealing the record as soon as possible.

Under the new CORI reform law, there are procedures now in place to allow people the right to inspect and obtain a copy of their own criminal records. Moreover, new guidelines will be published to to help deal with the problem of correcting inaccurate information. The new law established a Criminal Record Review Board to hear complaints pertaining to violations of the CORI law, including the failure to provide a copy of your record before questioning by a potential employer or after an adverse decision regarding employment has been made.
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1307593_mobile_phone_in_hand.jpgIt happens all the time. A couple gets into a spat and someone calls the police to complain or a neighbor or passerby dials 911 because they hear an argument, some screaming or a loud noise and think that domestic abuse is involved. If the police or an ambulance is requested, the authorities will come to your home to carefully investigate whether some wrongdoing has occurred. The police always aggressively handle 911 emergency calls and there is a built-in presumption that some violence has taken place. Even if there is a change of heart by the person that dialed 911 the police are mandated to make an arrest and the prosecution will pursue the case with vigor. When the police call you back after an accidental 911 call or hang up they will come to investigate even if you are clear in telling them that nothing has happened and it was just an argument. The call cannot be cancelled and the police must come to the location of the call to speak with the parties involved and they will often arrest someone, usually the male party.

Under the law, the police shall arrest any person the law officer witnesses or has probable cause to believe has violated a restraining order or no-contact order or judgment. Even when there is no such order under Massachusetts law an “arrest shall be the preferred response” where an officer suspects domestic assault and battery even when there is a lack of physical evidence. When the 911 call is made the legal troubles usually begin in earnest. Indeed it has often been said the decent into hell begins when someone calls 911, even when you are innocent or where the other party was the first aggressor. The ramifications of the 911 call are wide and include the destruction of relationships, marriages and problems with family and children. In Massachusetts district court penalties for assault and battery include jail time of up to two and a half years in the house of correction. Conditions of any probation can also include a lengthy and costly batterer’s program, anger management classes or drug and alcohol abuse counseling. Some other problems that may result include the loss of a job with a conviction and your ability to exercise your Second Amendment rights to carry a firearm. Domestic assault cases are often reported in town police blotters causing unfair embarrassment and shame in the community.

Many times 911 calls are made on a Friday night or over the weekend when families are together. The courts are closed and the person arrested will remain in police custody for days until the courts reopen. Fortunately, with the help of a competent and experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, domestic assault cases that begin with a 911 can often be won prior to trial or at the trial stage. Changes in evidence law and other factors have also helped to level the playing field and allow for direct confrontation and cross examination of witnesses and alleged victims when the police are relying simply on a 911 tape to prove their case. So It is unwise and foolish to represent yourself in a domestic assault and battery case or enter into a plea bargain. You must contact an aggressive and knowledgeable 911 Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer right away in order to protect all of your legal rights.
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1038828_u_s__supreme_court_2.jpgOn July 31, 2010, the Massachusetts legislature adopted CORI reform. CORI means Criminal Offender Record Information. It is a person’s criminal history. In this article we will explore CORI reform in Massachusetts and cover the types of entries on a criminal record that are eligible to be sealed. Sealing a criminal record in Massachusetts can be difficult and should not be undertaken without having an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney with you to guide you deftly though an often convoluted process. The successful sealing your record in Massachusetts means that you maintain and ensure that past court involvement stays confidential by prohibiting access to that information by potential employers, school officials, public housing authorities, and others.

If you have ever been charged with a crime in a state or federal court in Massachusetts, whether your case ended with or without a conviction, a verdict of not guilty, or the charges were thrown out or dismissed, you will still have a CORI in Massachusetts and that information is accessible to others. Under the old CORI law employers could ask about past criminal involvement right away on a job application and thereby limit the applicant pool for a particular job. Under the new CORI law, employers can’t ask up front on the first job application but may ask about it later in the application process and request that a potential employee make that information available. Successfully sealing your CORI can prevent such an intrusion into your privacy. Fortunately, the waiting periods for sealing felony and misdemeanor cases will been shortened soon to allow petitioners to request to seal a felony conviction after 10 years (previously 15 years) and a misdemeanor conviction after five years (previously 10 years). The reduction in these sealing periods and the other important sections of the CORI law become effective in May 2012. However, now is the time to get started by obtaining a copy of your CORI and contacting an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer to help seal or expunge your Massachusetts criminal record.

The procedures for sealing criminal records are contained in Massachusetts G.L. c. 276, §§§ 100A, 100B and 100C. In certain cases, a Petition to Seal may be made directly to the Commissioner of Probation for those entries that are “aged out.” This means that all of your court appearances and court disposition records, including the termination of your probation or any sentence for any misdemeanor must have occurred not less than ten years prior to the filing of the Petition to Seal. It also requires that all of your court appearances and court disposition records, including the termination of your probation or any sentence for any felony must have occurred not less than fifteen years prior to the filing of the Petition to Seal. For Juvenile Delinquency court cases or dispositions, there is a three year waiting period before being allowed to file a Petition to Seal.
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