New Sealing and Expungement Laws in Massachusetts – Starting October 1st 2018

New Sealing and Expungement in Massachusetts – Effective October 1st, 2018.

The sealing and expungement laws in Massachusetts have been revamped and will be taking effect on October 1, 2018.  While the procedures, time lines and nuances have yet to be worked out, there is a lot that is clear and known.

Prior to October 1, 2018, in order to have a felony conviction sealed, one would have to wait 10 years from his guilty finding and/or from when he was released from prison or jail.  The new law will change that waiting period from 10 years to 7 years.

Similarly, the waiting period to seal one’s misdemeanor conviction has been shortened from 5 years to 3 years.

Another change in the new law is that a conviction of a resisting arrest was previously not sealable.  As of October 1, 2018, it will be eligible to be sealed.

Yet, one more significant change in the law is that an actual expungement (not merely a sealing) has become viable in very limited circumstances.  The difference between a sealing and an expungement is important but beyond the scope of this Blog.  If the difference between the two is important to you, please feel free to contact our office for an in depth discussion of same.

An expungement, as of October 1, 2018 will become possible  for various Juvenile criminal offenses.  A felony would be eligible to be expunged 7 years from the actual date of offense and a misdemeanor 3 years from the date of  offense.  There are, however, other requirements that must be in place in order to effectuate the expungement, but the minimum requirement is that the above waiting period has elapsed.    There is a laundry list of offenses that are not eligible to be expunged, which include but are not limited to various violent and sexual crime

We will update this Blog in the middle of October, 2018 after more of the practical and procedural elements have been hammered out.  Because there will be an enormous amount of people applying for these various remedies on or about October 1, 2018, if you desire to have your case sealed or expunged or at least explore your options, it would be wise to start the process sooner than later, particularly,  if time is of the essence for you.

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