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I had a CWOF in 2004 for A&B DW as a juvenile. Is my record visible? If so, can it be sealed? Thank you for your time.

Marlborough, MA |

I was 13 when I was assaulted at a highschool football game by two other juveniles who mistook me for someone else. They admitted to approaching me from behind and grabbing me, and alleged that held up my pocked knife toward them. They were not arrested or charged. I was not arrested either, but I was charged with A&B DW. The case was continued without a finding, and I did six months pre-trial probation by phone ending in 2004. I had no priors, I have never been arrested, nor have I been investigated for or charged with any crime since, and my driving record is perfect with no citations. My lawyer has since become a Judge, so as I understand I cannot consult her for legal advice. Is my record visible to anyone? If so, can it be sealed? What might that cost? Can I contact my old laywer?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer
Posted

Your juvenile delinquency record is visible to law enforcement entities, the courts and the military and the the Department of Children and Families in certain situations, but entities such as employers and landlords will not be able to see your juvenile record. You can seal your juvenile record since more than 3 years has elapsed since the start of the probation. You do this by way of an administrative petition filed pursuant to General Laws chapter 276, 100B. There is no need to go into court to have your juvenile delinquency record sealed. The is a correct way to seal a record and many incorrect ways to seal a record. Sealing a juvenile record involves more than simply mailing in the petition. It takes about 45-90 days to seal the record.

Good luck,

Dominic Pang (617-538-1127)

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended as legal advice. Additionally, this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you wish to obtain legal advice specific to your case, please consult with a local attorney.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your time! I will look into the proper way to seal the record. I assume that I should contact a lawyer to do so, to see that it is not done in one of the "incorrect ways", would you agree? If that is the case, do you know roughly what it might cost to do it properly with the assistance of a lawyer? Again, I really appreciate your response.

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

Yes, I recommend hiring an attorney to seal the CORI. I cannot speak to what other attorneys would charge for sealing your record, but I would be happy to discuss my pricing with you. I charge reasonable flat rate fees for my sealing services. You can email me at dpang@panglawcom or call at (617) 538-1127 to discuss.

Asker

Posted

I will contact you. Thank you again for your time, it is much appreciated.

Posted

A juvenile record is not visible to anyone--such as an employer--unless you consent to letting someone see your juvenile record. Don't worry about that. I am a little confused by saying you got both a CWOF and were on pre-trial probation. A CWOF is an admission to sufficient facts which, after a probation period, gets dismissed. Pre-trial probation is where there is no admission to any facts and no facts found by the court (which is better) and then, at the end of the probation period, there is a dismissal. In either case, however, the record was a juvenile one.

That makes me wonder about one possibility for you. Given that you might have been on pre-trial probation, is it also possible that there was a diversion program for you then? If so, then you may have nothing on your juvenile record. You might consider writing to the Office of the Commissioner of Probation in Boston to ask for your juvenile record. Go and look up how to do it. It is easy.

Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your time! Clearly the best thing to do is request my record rather than rely on my recollections of what happened when I was a kid 10 years ago. I will look in to how to go about doing that, and I appreciate the suggestion. Is it like a credit report? Are flags raised by checking it? Sorry for the paranoia - since this incident I have been very, very careful. As to confusion on the issue, I should say, I was 13 at the time; young and very scared. I had never been in trouble before and had just been attacked by teenage gangsters (one of whom went on to Mass Most Wanted for armed robbery and aggravated assault) only to find myself being accused of doing something wrong. As I recall, I admitted sufficient facts. I was told by my lawyer that I was essentially admitting to being at the football game, being in possession of the knife, and being involved in an altercation with the two other juveniles - not to actually holding it up to the person. I was given to understand that by "admitting sufficient facts" I was acknowledging that a judge or jury could find me guilty based on facts that I did not dispute, and was encouraged to do so because my only defense was my statement that I had not done anything wrong. I believe did this at the Framingham District Court, and I do not recall the alleged "victim" or the "witness" (who I was acquainted with, and lied about being present at the event) being present at the time. I was told that I was doing 6 months of what my lawyer referred to as "pre-trial probation" and about 25 hours of community service by cleaning up a skate-park operated by a highschool radio station where I already was involved in volunteer work prior to the case (I also volunteered at a nursing home). I met my probation officer in person once, at the Framingham District Court the same day as I admitted sufficient facts - from there forward I checked in via telephone once a month. At the end of my probation period, I went to a courthouse in Cambridge MA where I believe the case was dismissed. The alleged "victim" was present, as was the "witness", the investigating officer, and several character witnesses on my behalf including the person who supervised my community service. Again, I realize that the best thing to do is to get my record, but that is my recollection of the events (which are still confusing to me). I hope that clears up some confusion, or at the very least does not cause more. Thank you again for your response and your expertise.

Michael P. Gerace

Michael P. Gerace

Posted

Based on your recollections, which are very good, your did make admissions, so there probably would be an entry on your juvenile record. If there was diversion, then you would not have made admissions like that. It is still a good idea to get your probation record.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again for your advice. I come from a family of lawyers, and I know your time is your stock and trade. I truly appreciate your taking the time to help people in this forum. It looks like I have a few things to do; first to obtain a copy of my probation record to see what's on record, and then to work with an attorney to file an administrative petition to seal my record.

Posted

" The case was continued without a finding, and I did six months pre-trial probation by phone ending in 2004."

You would not get a CWOF with "pre-trial probation" - by phone or any other way. Please clarify.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response! Please see the comments under the response from Atty. Gerace; I explained the situation and events as I recall them. I intend to obtain a copy of my probation record, so I can be clear on exactly what happened, and go from there. I recall quite a bit but I am not clear on exactly what happened because I was very young, very scared, and less concerned with or knowledgeable about the the legal process at the time. It's possible that it was not "pre-trial probation" or that it was not a "CWOF" but those are the terms I recall having been used. Thank you for your time; I appreciate your expertise on the matter.

Posted

As usual Attorney Pang's answer is quite corect. I am assuming that your CWOF or your period of "pre-trial probation" (whichever of the two it was) ended more than three years ago. If your record has been clean since then you are entitled as a matter of right to have your record sealed by submitting a petition directly to the Commissioner of Probation. Your old lawyer is now a judge and he cannot help you and you should not contact him. Most lawyers will help you complete the Petition and mail it in for a very small fee (~$100 or $200). It is quick, painless, and easy. Generally speaking, however, your juvenile record is not visible to civiliam employers.

Robert D. Lewin, Esq.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for the response! I'm glad to hear that I'm on the right track here! This has been weighing on me since it happened, and your feedback as well as that of your colleagues has given me some much-needed confidence. Also, thank you for clarifying the issue with my old lawyer; one of the reasons that I can only offer an incomplete picture of what occurred in court is that I was afraid to contact her regarding my case. I was aware that judges were not able to give legal advice, but I was not clear on whether that would preclude them from meeting with or talking to former clients about their own cases. I did not want to break any laws by trying to contact her, and I'm glad to hear I did the right thing - it would be be disappointing to think that I had delayed getting this taken care of due to paranoia. Thank you again for your advice and your time..

Posted

Unlike adult criminal record, which often requires 10 years wait before you can seal it, juvenile record can be sealed after 3 years. After the offense is sealed, you will have a clean record to ordinary employers. For law enforcement officials, they may see only the word "sealed" on your record, but will not see the actual offense, unless they petition the court to unseal your record.

Tel. 617.221.3030 (lawyer of Worcester, Quincy, NY) www.severowang.com If you find the attorneys' answers are helpful, please thank the attorneys by marking their answers "helpful" or "best answers" so that they can get their credit from AVVO. The attorneys donate their time on AVVO to answer legal questions for free merely contribute their legal advice and do not create any legal representation relationships.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response! That's good to know, especially that it would show up as having been sealed in some situations. Under what sort of circumstances would a LEO petition the court to unseal it? Does it sometimes look worse to have a sealed record? Again, I really appreciate your help.

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

The part about what law enforcement will see is no longer true. Prior to the changes in the CORI laws in May of 2012, LEO would see "sealed record". After the changes, LEO will see the entire record as though it was not sealed and hence LEO would not need to seek a court order to unseal the record. All other entities will be told you have "no record", NOT that you have a sealed record. This is because it often looks worse to be told that somebody has a sealed record, as it invites negative speculation, and the legislature recognized this problem and correctly drafted the laws to direct the DCJIS to indicate "no record" in response to requests for sealed records.

Jennifer Wang

Jennifer Wang

Posted

thanks for the alert on the change of CORI. I found some more details on the new CORI law and attached a link below: http://www.workforcecentralma.org/additional-programs/re-entry/changes-to-cori-law

Asker

Posted

To be clear, under the new rules if my record is "sealed" it will show as "no record" to a potential employers, but would not really be "sealed" at all to a LEOs, who would be able to view it at any time for any reason? Also, It looks like under the new guidelines a CWOF is treated as a "non-conviction" once it is dismissed, and "non-convictions" are not shown to potential employers unless they work with "vulnerable segments of the community" (banks/schools?). Would that apply retroactively to my case, making sealing the record redundant? Thanks again; your input is much appreciated.

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

Sealed records are returned as no record to potential employers. sealing does not prevent LEO from seeing what is behind the seal. Non-convictions are not revealed to potential employers unless that employer works with vulnerable segments, but this does not make it redundant to seal your record. In a previous answer/comment to your question, I stated that while DCJIS won't reveal the non-conviction to so done who is not allowed to see non-convictions, this in no way prevents the requestor from viewing the courthouse records. sealing would make the courthouse records inaccessible.

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