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My son who is 17 received a citation for minor in posession of alchohol. If found guilty will his record be sealed?

Westwood, MA |
Attorney answers 5

Posted

Records are not sealed automatically in Massachusetts. An application to seal the records must be made. Here is a link that provides additional information. http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/cori.html#seal

None of the information or materials posted above is intended to constitute legal advice. Viewing this does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Local counsel should always be consulted before contemplating any legal action. The above information is general in nature and should not be undertaken without the express advice of an attorney of your choosing.

Posted

If he is convicted, his record cannot be sealed for 5 years. If he is arraigned and the charge is dismissed upon the payment of a fine (many minor in possession charges are handled in this fashion) the charge will still appear on his record, albeit as a dismissal. The dismissed charge can be sealed without a waiting period. The best course of action, however, is to get the charge dismissed prior to arraignment because if he's never arraigned, then the charge will never appear on his record and sealing will be a non-issue. Some district attorneys offices will offer a diversion program, completion of which will cause the charge to be dismissed prior to arraignment.

Asker

Posted

Can the charge be dismissed through a diversion program if he has already been through a diversion program for another incident?

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

Only if the prosecutor in the present case does not find out about the prior diversion program.

Asker

Posted

Issue was with the same police department, so I assume they would find out. We currently do not have a lawyer and were planning to just plead guilty and let him accepts the consequences. Is this a bad idea?

Dominic L. Pang

Dominic L. Pang

Posted

Yes, that's a bad idea. A guilty plea is a conviction, which has negative consequences, for example no ability to seal it before 5 years and drivers license suspension. There are alternatives to simply pleading guilty, which are not diversion and still fall short of a conviction. Having a lawyer will help.

Posted

Regardless of any sealing of his criminal record, if he's convicted, the conviction will appear on his driving record, which cannot be sealed. Also, if he's convicted, the Registry will automatically suspend his driver's license for ninety (90) days pursuant to G.L. c. 138 § 34C.

This is not intended as legal advice and it should not be considered or relied upon as such.

Posted

Do everything in your power to get the charged dismissed before he is arraigned. This is an unusual disposition and it is not easy to achieve. Over the years I have succeeded in getting charges dismissed prior to arraignment on several occasions. You need strong grounds to convince the DA's office to do this. By doing everything in your power, I mean hire the most experienced and highly skilled attorney you can afford.

Posted

Time is off the essence. Lok at the citation. If you have not done so you must request a clerks hearing where a clerk can decide not to charge him. You usually have four days from date of citation. If he has no record good chance of no charge. A good lawyer may be able to get you a clerks hearing even if the four days Har passed. Needs to be doe ASAP. My practice is to file motion by hand at counter.