Record Sealing

Everyone has made mistakes in life. If you’re lucky, the consequences are minor and quickly resolved. Some mistakes, though, carry consequences that can affect you deeply, maybe for the rest of your life.

If you’ve made a mistake that resulted in a Massachusetts criminal conviction, or in some cases (such as domestic violence), simply a criminal charge, you will find yourself with a criminal record. You never expected to be in this situation, and you know your record doesn’t reflect who you really are. Now what do you do?

How CORI Can Affect You

CORI stands for “Criminal Offender Record Information.” This is what a criminal record is called in Massachusetts. Your CORI can affect you in a number of ways:

  • Employers regularly check CORI before making hiring decisions (though they can no longer require you to indicate on a job application whether you’ve been convicted of a crime).
  • Many housing authorities will not admit new residents who have negative information on CORI. As you might expect, this includes low-income housing options, but private landlords can check, and they increasingly do.
  • If you want to volunteer at your children’s school, be aware that the school must check CORI for all volunteers (and employees) who will have direct unsupervised contact with children. In practice, this means they almost always check CORI for all volunteers
  • Organizations that work with the elderly, disabled, or children also must check CORI for all employees and volunteers who will have direct, unsupervised contact with clients.
  • Anyone--new friends, romantic partners, neighbors-- can get an Open Access CORI report on anyone else.

What CORI Says About You and What You Can Do About It

If you appeared before a judge in a Massachusetts criminal court, it will appear on your CORI. This includes pending charges and prior conviction, as well as cases that ended without a conviction--even if you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed.

The first thing you will want to do is get a copy of your CORI. Then you should sit down with an attorney who will go over it with you and explain what’s there and what you may be able to do about it. Mistakes (and they do happen) must be corrected, and some or all of the items on your CORI may be able to be sealed. That means that the mistakes you made in the past won’t be paraded under the noses of prospective employers, landlords, or administrators at your children’s school.

Some items may have a waiting period before they can be sealed, and some very serious convictions may not be able to be sealed at all, but for most people, enlisting the help of a skilled attorney to seal their CORI is a very worthwhile investment.

Contact our office today to learn how attorney Henry Fasoldt can help keep the mistakes of your past from following you into the future.