Criminal Records in Massachusetts

What is on My Massachusetts criminal record (“CORI”), Who Can See It, and What Can They See?

If you were charged or convicted of a criminal offense in Massachusetts, you have a criminal record. Who can see that record, and what do they see on it, are important for you to know.  

What is on a Criminal Record (“CORI”) in Massachusetts

A criminal record in Massachusetts is called a “CORI” report, standing for “Criminal Offender Record Information.” Your CORI report contains a listing of all of the charges on which you have been arraigned in Massachusetts state court, the dates of those arraignments, the dates the charges were resolved, and the sentence, if any, that was imposed.  

Even if the charge was ultimately dismissed, if you were arraigned on it in court, it will appear on your CORI.

I Was Arrested, Does That Mean I Have a Criminal Record?

Having an arrest does not automatically mean that you have a criminal record. A criminal record only starts once you have been brought into court and formally charged, a process commonly known as arraignment in criminal court. Once you have been arraigned, your case will appear on your criminal record. However, there are certain circumstances where an experienced attorney may be able to assist you in resolving your case before the arraignment process. This means that with their help, you may be able to prevent an entry from being made on your record altogether. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to explore the options available to you and to understand the best course of action in your situation.

Will all Criminal Charges Appear on my Record?

Yes, all criminal charges will be reflected on your record if you were arraigned in Court on the charge. It is important to note that certain types of court proceedings, although related to criminal matters, may not appear on your record. For example, if a restraining order is issued against you, it will typically  not be noted on your criminal record. However, if you violate that restraining order and are subsequently charged, the charge for the violation will be recorded on your criminal record. Furthermore, specific offenses like allegations of child abuse or incidents involving juveniles may not be included in your record. It's important to remember that these guidelines may vary depending on the jurisdiction. In the case of Massachusetts, only criminal cases that occur within the state will be present on your CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) record.

What Happens if My Case is Dismissed, Will it Go On My Record?

If your case is dismissed, it will still appear on your record if it has already been arraigned. This means that regardless of the final outcome, such as a dismissal, nolle prosse, CWOF (Continuance Without a Finding), or a not guilty verdict after trial, the charges will remain on your record. However, there is an exception to this rule. If your case is dismissed before the arraignment stage, it will not appear on your record. It is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled attorney as soon as possible when facing criminal charges. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal process, potentially resolving your case in a manner that avoids a negative impact on your record.

How Long Will a Criminal Charge Stay on my Record?

When a criminal charge has been placed on your record, it is important to understand the duration for which it will remain. Generally, a criminal charge will stay on your record for life unless specific actions are taken to seal or expunge it successfully. Arraignment is the stage at which a case enters your record, marking the beginning of its presence. 

To remove the charge from your record, you would need to go through the process of sealing or expunging it, which varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case. By successfully completing the necessary legal procedures to seal or expunge your record, you can effectively remove the charge and achieve a clean slate. It is essential to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific options available to you in your jurisdiction for removing a criminal charge from your record.

Who Can See My Criminal Record in Massachusetts, And What Can They See?

Levels of Access to Criminal Record (“CORI”) Information 

There are seven levels of access that potential employers and others have that allow them to see varying types of information on your Massachusetts criminal record, or CORI. 

Here are the categories of CORI “consumers” and the access they have to your record.

You will see how expunging or sealing your record can make an enormous difference in who has access to your old case information.

Note: In this chart, a “non-conviction” means any final disposition that does not result in conviction (for example, findings of not guilty or continued without a finding, followed by dismissal, are considered “non-convictions”, as are straight dismissals and charges that were “nol prossed”.)

What Can I Do About My Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal record in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to have that record sealed, or even expunged. Either will limit, or eliminate, access to information about your court history. For information on how to expunge or seal your record, contact us today.

Contact Ernest Stone Today

Lead attorney Ernest Stone has experience in multiple criminal defense areas, including expunging and sealing criminal records. We can help you expunge or seal your old record and give you a new, fresh start.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Massachusetts, having a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side is important. Contact H. Ernest Stone, Attorney PC, today for a free consultation. 

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