Expungement of Criminal Records - State: Massachusetts (MA)

When records of criminal appearances and criminal dispositions are sealed by the commissioner in his files, he shall notify forthwith the clerk and the probation officer of the courts in which the convictions or dispositions have occurred, or other entries have been made, of such sealing, and said clerks and probation officers likewise shall seal records of the same proceedings in their files.

Such sealed records shall not operate to disqualify a person in any examination, appointment or application for public service in the service of the commonwealth or of any political subdivision thereof; nor shall such sealed records be admissible in evidence or used in any way in any court proceedings or hearings before any boards or commissions, except in imposing sentence in subsequent criminal proceedings.

An application for employment used by an employer which seeks information concerning prior arrests or convictions of the applicant shall include the following statement: "An applicant for employment with a sealed record on file with the commissioner of probation may answer `no record' with respect to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances or convictions. An applicant for employment with a sealed record on file with the commissioner of probation may answer 'no record' to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests or criminal court appearances. In addition, any applicant for employment may answer 'no record' with respect to any inquiry relative to prior arrests, court appearances and adjudications in all cases of delinquency or as a child in need of services which did not result in a complaint transferred to the superior court for criminal prosecution." The attorney general may enforce the provisions of this paragraph by a suit in equity commenced in the superior court.

The commissioner, in response to inquiries by authorized persons other than any law enforcement agency, any court, or any appointing authority, shall in the case of a sealed record or in the case of court appearances and adjudications in a case of delinquency or the case of a child in need of services which did not result in a complaint transferred to the superior court for criminal prosecution, report that no record exists.

G.L.c. 276, § 100C. Sealing of records or files in certain criminal cases; effect upon employment reports; enforcement.

Section 100C.

In any criminal case wherein the defendant has been found not guilty by the court or jury, or a no bill has been returned by the grand jury, or a finding of no probable cause has been made by the court, the commissioner of probation shall seal said court appearance and disposition recorded in his flies and the clerk and the probation officers of the courts in which the proceedings occurred or were initiated shall likewise seal the records of the proceedings in their flies. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply if the defendant makes a written request to the commissioner not to seal the records of the proceedings.

In any criminal case wherein a nolle prosequi has been entered, or a dismissal has been entered by the court, except in cases in which an order of probation has been terminated, and it appears to the court that substantial justice would best be served, the court shall direct the clerk to seal the records of the proceedings in his files. The clerk shall forthwith notify the commissioner of probation and the probation officer of the courts in which the proceedings occurred or were initiated who shall likewise seal the records of the proceedings in their files.

Such sealed records shall not operate to disqualify a person in any examination, appointment or application for public employment in the service of the commonwealth or of any political subdivision thereof.

An application for employment used by an employer which seeks information concerning prior arrests or convictions of the applicant shall include in addition to the statement required under section one hundred A the following statement: "An applicant for employment with a sealed record on file with the commissioner of probation may answer `no record' with respect to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests or criminal court appearances." The attorney general may enforce the provisions of this section by a suit in equity commenced in the superior court.

The commissioner, in response to inquiries by authorized persons other than any law enforcement agency or any court, shall in the case of a sealed record report that no record exists. After a finding or verdict of guilty on a subsequent offense such sealed record shall be made available to the probation officer and the same, with the exception of a not guilty, a no bill, or a no probable cause, shall be made available to the court.