- 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.