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Expungement of DUI (OUI) in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts petitioners are allowed to ask a court to both seal and in a few situations expunge your record.  Sealing of records does not remove them from the government’s files but it significantly limits the general public’s ability to access them.  For instance, if you applied to a job and the employer ran a background check and your assault and battery conviction was sealed, the check would not reveal the conviction.  If your infraction was a misdemeanor, you can request your file be sealed after 10 years following the conclusion of your sentence, probation, or whatever action the court took.  If the infraction was a felony, the wait period is 15 years.  Either way, you must also have not been found guilty of any criminal offense for the past 10 years, excluding traffic violations in which the punishable consequence does not exceed $50.  The final catch is that you cannot have been good because you were in jail for another offense, even if in another state.  A more thorough overview of sealing and the forms provided by the Massachusetts state government, which need to be filled out to file a sealment petition are available here.

In Massachusetts, you can also try for expungment of your record.  Expungement is requesting a court to order your records be destroyed.  They vanish and cease to exist, whereas with sealing, your records are simply removed from public access.  Because of expungment’s greater purview, DUI convictions are not allowable to be expunged, excluding a genuine error to your record, like an incorrect name or something.  So this avenue is not available to most people.


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