- Most criminal records can be sealed by mail after a waiting period, and
- some cases can be sealed by a judge without a waiting period or by mail.
All convictions, except for a first time drug possession conviction, can only be sealed by mail after a waiting period of at least 5 years for a misdemeanor conviction or 10 years for a felony conviction.
If a case was dismissed or ended with a not guilty finding or a nolle prosequi (the prosecutor dropped the case), it can be sealed by mail after a waiting period or by a judge without any waiting period. A misdemeanor is a crime where you can be punished by a jail sentence of up to 2½ years even if you do not go to jail or serve the maximum jail sentence. A felony is a crime where you can be punished by more than 2½ years in jail even if you do not go to jail or serve the maximum jail sentence.
See a list of the most common misdemeanor and felony crimes. You can see the Master Crime List of misdemeanors or felonies in Massachusetts.
Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services Created March 2013