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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27131
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hello I am completing an authorization for a release of criminal

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Hello I am completing an authorization for a release of criminal and motor vehicle history records. It states that a conviction includes a plea of no contest, plea of guilty, or any court determination of guilt. I got it trouble 9 yrs ago when I was 17 and I obtained my own icori check as I do not remember the exact outcome. It
reads Disposition Type: NON CONVICTION Disposition Date: UNKNOWN
Court Disposition: C 11/17/04 CWOF 11/16/05 CC VWF PD DISM
Do I need to disclose this when they ask me ifI have ever been convicted of any crime or when they ask me if I have ever pled guilty or no contest to any crime?

A CWOF is similar to a plea of "nolo contendre." That is, it requires an admission that the state of Massachussets would have enough evidence to convict you of some or all of what you were alleged to have done. There is, thereafter, a probationary period after which the matter is ended without a finding of either guilt or innocence (essentially, a suspended sentence).

Although you absolutely do have the legal right to say that you have never been convicted of a crime, CWOFs are not automatically, sealed and as you have found for yourself will turn up on your record and on CORI.

According to Massachusetts law, employers are not allowed to ask about, maintain a record of, or base any employment decision on arrests or prosecution that did not lead to a conviction. However, if you want, you can seal the record so that your protection can be extended beyond just that.

From what I have read, under MGL Chapter 276, Section 100A, a defendant will be able to seal his misdemeanor after 10 years or his felony after 15 by petitioning the Commissioner of Probation, if there are no other offenses other than traffic matters where the fine doesn't exceed $50. Sealing should make the matter invisible to most employers (government agencies and some licensing divisions, however, can see what most everyone else is not allowed to access).

There's a shorter route to a sealing, (that is, without waiting 10 or 15 years) although it is discretionary, so the outcome would be less certain. That would be to petition the judge directly under MGL Chapter 276, Section 100C, asking for a sealing in the interest of justice. If the judge decides that the state has less of an interest in keeping the record open than in grantic your request, he can do that for you. You would show a compelling governmental interest that would outweigh keeping your CWOF unsealed, and that would best be done via a lawyer.

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