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A Simplified Guide to Sealing a Misdemeanor in Massachusetts

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People don’t always make the best decisions in life, especially when they’re young. Some decide to drink and drive to get home, and some drink in public without realizing it wasn’t legal. If you’re lucky enough, you may get away with it. But if you’re caught, you could get charged with a misdemeanor. 

What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a lesser charge than a felony, usually bestowed upon a person who commits a low-level crime. Most people with a misdemeanor are in the younger legal age group, which youthful ignorance can explain (which certainly does not excuse it). Here are a few common misdemeanors:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Public Intoxication
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Petty Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Trespassing
  • Basic Assault

Most misdemeanors are solved with fines. Some involve serving jail time or community service. No matter how long ago the charge was, it can still show up in your records. This may affect your chances of getting a job or applying for a loan. While you can’t exactly wipe it spotless from criminal databases, you can request to seal your misdemeanor, which is a legal way of taking it out of your records.

How to Seal a Misdemeanor in Massachusetts

The Requirements

To seal a misdemeanor, you need to make sure that the case is not less than three years old. You should also have your records on hand, which states the details of your case. Your case’s verdict should also be not guilty for any criminal offense within the commonwealth in the case of a misdemeanor. If it is considered a felony, the waiting period is seven years.

Any case considered a sex offense cannot be sealed if classified under level two or three. 

The Processing

Sealing a misdemeanor is free of charge for as long as you meet the requirements. Acquiring documents and filing has to be done in the same court that handled your criminal case. When you’re done, you have to acquire a petition seal online. Then you will need a petition to seal at the Office of the Commissioner of Probation, who will send a copy over to a local district attorney’s office.

A court hearing is held where the judge gets to decide if your petition is valid. They will consider your age when you committed it, how long ago the case was, what the gravity of the case is, and what the verdict was. If they deem it dismissable, then the records of your misdemeanor will be sealed.

Conclusion 

A misdemeanor may not be as bad as a felony, but it can still affect your prospects in the future. Sealing your misdemeanor is one thing you can do. Not everyone is perfect, and sometimes people pay the price for it. But that shouldn’t mean that you don’t deserve a second chance in rehabilitating your reputation. It is legal to seal a misdemeanor, so you might as well give it a try.

If you find yourself in an unfavorable legal situation, it’s best to get help from a criminal defense attorney in Boston, MA. The Fernandez Firm is your go-to attorney for all things criminal justice with expertise in both State and Federal Courts. Attorney Frank Fernandez is also proud to have represented and served the Latin community in his career. Contact us now!

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