What is DUI expungement, and is it possible in Massachusetts?
DUI expungement is the process of having a DUI conviction removed from an individual’s criminal record so that the conviction does not show up on background checks or other public records. In Massachusetts, it is possible to have a DUI conviction expunged if the individual has met certain criteria, including the completion of all court-ordered sentences, including payment of any fines or restitution, completion of any probation periods, and/or any alcohol education programs. Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be eligible to have their DUI conviction expunged after 5 or 10 years from the date of conviction.
What are the eligibility criteria for DUI expungement in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, in order to be eligible for DUI expungement, an individual must:
1. Have completed all license suspensions or revocations resulting from the DUI conviction;
2. Have paid all fines and fees associated with the DUI conviction;
3. Have maintained a clean record for at least five years following the DUI conviction; and
4. Not have any pending criminal charges or DUI-related offenses.
Is there a waiting period before someone can apply for DUI expungement in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is a waiting period before someone can apply for DUI expungement in Massachusetts. The person must wait 5 years after the completion of the sentence (including probation and fines) before they can apply for expungement.
What types of DUI convictions may be eligible for expungement in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, only first-time DUI convictions may be eligible for expungement. Additionally, the defendant must have completed all terms of their sentence (including any probationary period) and there must be no further DUI charges or convictions within the past 10 years.
Are there specific conditions or rehabilitation programs required for expungement eligibility in Massachusetts?
Yes. In order to be eligible for an expungement in Massachusetts, an individual must have completed all requirements of their sentence, including any fines or probationary periods. Additionally, they must not have any pending criminal cases. They must also have successfully completed any required rehabilitation programs and/or community service. Depending on the type of crime committed, they may also need to provide evidence of successful reintegration into society in order to be eligible for expungement.
How does someone initiate the DUI expungement process in Massachusetts?
To initiate the DUI expungement process in Massachusetts, an individual must first complete an application detailing the conviction and evidence of rehabilitation. The application must be filed with the court in which the conviction occurred. The individual must then obtain a copy of their criminal record and submit a copy of it to the court along with the application. Finally, the individual must serve notice of their petition for expungement on the prosecuting attorney and any other party that were involved in the conviction. Upon submitting the application, supporting evidence, and service of notice, a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether or not expungement is appropriate.
What documentation or evidence is needed when applying for expungement in Massachusetts?
When applying for expungement in Massachusetts, applicants must provide an official copy of their criminal record, including any past convictions, as well as any other evidence that may be relevant to the case. This could include character references, letters of support, or other evidence that may support the applicant’s claim. Additionally, applicants must submit a written request to the court detailing why they think their conviction should be expunged and how it has affected their life and/or career.
Are there fees associated with filing for DUI expungement in Massachusetts?
Yes, there are fees associated with filing for DUI expungement in Massachusetts. The court filing fee is generally $150, and there may also be other fees associated with getting documents notarized or certified. Additionally, an attorney’s fee may be necessary if you need assistance with the expungement process.
Can individuals with multiple DUI convictions apply for expungement in Massachusetts?
No. In Massachusetts, individuals with multiple DUI convictions are not eligible for expungement.
Does expungement result in the complete removal of the DUI record, or is it sealed in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, expungement does not remove the DUI record completely; it is still available to law enforcement and certain government agencies. However, the record is sealed and not available to the public.
How do employers, landlords, and background check companies view expunged DUI records in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, employers, landlords, and background check companies are generally not allowed to consider expunged DUI records in their decisions. The process of expungement seals the criminal record, making it unavailable to the public and rendering it as though it never happened. This means that an expunged DUI record should not show up on any background check and cannot be used in any way by employers, landlords, or background check companies.
Is there a difference between expungement and setting aside a DUI conviction in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is a difference between expungement and setting aside a DUI conviction in Massachusetts. Expungement is the process of sealing a criminal record so it is not accessible to the public. However, when a DUI conviction is set aside, the conviction remains on the criminal record but is not considered when determining eligibility for certain benefits such as employment or housing.
Can expunged DUI records be used against an individual in future DUI cases in Massachusetts?
No, expunged DUI records cannot be used against an individual in future DUI cases in Massachusetts. Once a DUI charge is expunged, it is treated as if it never happened and the individual is not held accountable for it.
Do expunged DUI records affect professional licensing or certifications in Massachusetts?
Expunged DUI records generally do not affect professional licensing or certifications in Massachusetts, as long as the expungement was lawfully granted. The Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services states that “the sole purpose of an expungement is to restore the individual to the status he or she would have had prior to the conviction.” Therefore, an expunged DUI conviction does not have to be reported when applying for professional licenses or certification in Massachusetts.
Are there any restrictions on firearm ownership after DUI expungement in Massachusetts?
Yes, firearm restrictions after DUI expungement in Massachusetts can exist. As in other states, a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can impose a restriction on future firearms possession. According to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 140 Section 129B, “A person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor who is subject to any form of probation supervision, including violation of probation, or who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment in the state prison shall not possess a firearm.” Therefore, individuals with DUI convictions who are on probation or have been convicted of a felony in Massachusetts cannot legally possess a firearm until their probation period is completed and their felony conviction has been vacated or expunged.
Is there a waiting period for expungement to take effect after approval in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is a waiting period for expungement to take effect after approval in Massachusetts. According to Massachusetts law, the waiting period is six months after the order of expungement is entered.
What role does the court or prosecutor play in the DUI expungement process in Massachusetts?
The court and prosecutor play an important role in the DUI expungement process in Massachusetts. The court must determine whether the person requesting the expungement is eligible for the relief requested, and the prosecutor has a right to object to the expungement. If the prosecutor objects, the court will consider their objection and rule on whether or not to grant the expungement. If the court grants the expungement, the prosecutor must then ensure that all records related to the case are properly updated.
Are there resources or organizations that provide guidance on DUI expungement in Massachusetts?
Yes. Massachusetts Lawyers for Criminal Justice (MLCJ) is a non-profit organization that provides legal advice and assistance to people seeking expungement of their DUI records. Additionally, the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) provides a free online resource with information on how to go about the expungement process. Finally, the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) offers a free online service that provides guidance on DUI expungement as well as other criminal record removal and sealing options.
What is the timeline for completing the DUI expungement process in Massachusetts?
The exact timeline for expunging a DUI conviction in Massachusetts will depend on the individual circumstances of the case and the specific court ordering the expungement. Generally speaking, it can take several weeks or months for the expungement process to be completed. The process will require submitting a petition for expungement to the court, attending a hearing (if necessary), and waiting for a decision from the court. It is important to note that once an expungement petition has been filed, the process is often out of the petitioner’s hands and can take several months or longer.
How does DUI expungement impact immigration status, if applicable in Massachusetts?
Immigration law is a complicated area and it is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney for specific advice on how DUI expungement may impact immigration status. Generally speaking, a DUI conviction or dismissed charge could potentially have an adverse impact on certain immigration applications. It is possible that expungement of a DUI could help mitigate the effects of a conviction, but the specifics of each individual case would need to be evaluated to determine if that is the case.