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?
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:
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.