Criminal Offender Record Information or “CORI” is the official name for a criminal record in Massachusetts. Having a Massachusetts criminal record can be a devastating experience that goes far beyond mere embarrassment. A criminal record can disqualify you from living in housing that may require background checks. A criminal record can also disqualify you from becoming employed with companies that do not have a progressive view of the justice system. Even when charges are dismissed, they may still be visible to certain statutory organizations that have extended access to CORI. In Massachusetts sealing a record can be a complicated process. Massachusetts General Laws allow for two different ways to seal records. Records can sometimes be sealed by making a direct petition to the Commissioner of Probation. In other cases, it may be required to file a motion in the court where your case was heard.
In 2011 major CORI reform was passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Patrick. The new CORI law changed many of the existing time periods that were previously required before one could petition to have a record sealed. It also contained a “ban the box” provision that prevents employers from asking if you have ever been convicted on a crime on an initial application. Although that is an important step in CORI reform, employers are still allowed to check CORI before making a decision to hire an employee, and if your CORI contains negative information it could become the basis for a company's decision not to hire you.
Many different housing authorities also require a CORI check before they admit a new resident. While this includes many low income housing options, it also includes more exclusive private housing options, as well as different forms of elderly housing and nursing homes.
People often ask “How can I seal my criminal record in Massachusetts”? An important first step in understanding whether or not your CORI needs to be sealed is finding out exactly what is currently on your CORI. You can obtain a copy of your own Massachusetts CORI from the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services by filling out and mailing in this form.
In many cases, getting your record sealed can help avoid the harm that would otherwise be caused when you CORI is checked for any reason. As a Massachusetts sealing records lawyer, Daniel Cappetta has helped people with many different kinds of charges seal their records to ensure that their futures are protected from any potential harm that might be caused by having a criminal record. If you are concerned that your criminal record may interfere with your future, call Attorney Cappetta for a free consultation to get more information on how he can help you seal your record.