State Law Summary

The Massachusetts Second Chance Sealing Gap

Disclaimer

The following is a summary of the law prepared by law students under the supervision of a professor based on consulting multiple sources. It is only up to date as of the dates shown below and in many cases we had to make judgment calls. Therefore we encourage you to also consult the sources below, as well as the Restoration of Rights Project that include summaries of the law for all 50 states and US territories.

Primary Sources: Massachusetts Gov Site | Mass. General Laws c.276 §§ 100A-100U (December 31, 2020)

Secondary Sources: Massachusetts CCRC (December 13, 2022 ) | Mass. Legal Help Know Your CORI Rights Handbook (2023 Update) Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (nonprofit source of pending 2023 legislation)

Summary of the Law

CONVICTIONS:

  1. Misdemeanors:
    1. Sealing or expungement available for misdemeanor convictions upon petition after a 3-year waiting-period starting from completion of sentence, if clean (no conviction or pending charges). ( c.276 §100A)
  2. Felonys:
    1. Sealing or expungement available for felony convictions upon petition after a 7-year waiting-period starting from completion of sentence, if clean (no conviction or pending charges). ( c.276 §100A)
  3. Not Eligible for expungement: c.276 §100J
    1. Offenses resulting in death or serious bodily injury, intent to cause death or serious bodily injury, armed with a dangerous weapon
    2. Offenses against the elderly or disabled
    3. Sex offenses against minors or adults defined in c.6 §178C and c.123A §1
    4. DUIs c.90 §24
    5. Felonies under c.265, crimes against a person
    6. Possession of dangerous weapons, high capacity guns, and other prohibited weapons under c.269 §10(a-d), c.140 §121-131Q
    7. Domestic violence under c.209 §32 and violating related protective orders benefitting adults and minors under c.208 §18, c.208 §34B, c.209A and c.209C
    8. Violating orders relating to harassment under c.258
    9. When sealing only, crimes against public justice c.268 and conduct of public officials and employees (c.276 §100A, c.268A)
  4. Lifetime or other Limits: N/A
  5. Other Unmodeled Criteria or Details:
    1. Sealing available for sexual offenses upon petition after a 15-year waiting period after all supervision has ended if registered as Level 1 offender. Sealing unavailable to anyone still under registration obligation or ever required to register as Level 2 or 3 offender. Levels of Sex Offenders (c.276 §100A) (SJC Coe case may allow for some limited sealing if you bring an applied constitutional challenge in court)
    2. Sealing automatic for pardoned felonies, no waiting period. (c.127 §152)
    3. If crime was a felony at time and now misdemeanor, treated as misdemeanor.
    4. Youthful offender (c.199 §52) - (same disqualifications apply)
    5. Sealing available for misdemeanor adjudications upon petition after a 3-year waiting-period starting from completion of sentence, if clean (no conviction or adjudications during waiting-period, no pending charges). (c.276 §100G), (c.276 §100H), (c.276 §100I), and (c.276 §100A)

NON-CONVICTIONS:

  1. Sealing of certain non-convictions when the case ends favorably (not guilty, no bill returned by the grand jury, no probable cause), without petition, no waiting period, upon disposition. (c.276 §100C)
  2. Sealing of other non-convictions with the same waiting period as for convictions, 7 years for felonies and 3 years for misdemeanors. (c.276 §100A)
  3. [Not modeled] Immediate sealing of dismissal of charges, deferred dispositions, and nolle prosequi with petition, no waiting period, upon disposition only if “it appears to the court that substantial justice would best be served.” (c.276 §100C)

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