If you have been convicted of, or placed on a continuation without a
finding, and given probation for a first-offense drug possession crime,
you can move to seal your CORI without having to wait for the charge to
Under the current wording of General Laws ch. 276,
s. 100C, a dismissal that has resulted after a period of probation has
been served is ineligible for sealing. This leaves the person who was
given a continuation without a finding (CWOF) where the charge was
dismissed following successful completion a probation unable to seal the
charge that was CWOF'ed under 100C.
The only alternative is to seal
through s. 100A, which requires a 10 (for misdemeanors) or 15 (for
felonies) year waiting period
While the prohibition on sealing under 100C when there was probation
imposed will go away when the amendments to 100C go into effect on May
4, 2012, persons who have had a CWOF that resulted in a dismissal
currently cannot petition to seal their CORI until May 4, 2012.
First-time Drug Offenses Can Be Sealed, Even After a Period of Probation
There is an exception to the general prohibition against
sealing when a periods of probation was imposed. This exception to the
general rule is for first offense drug possession charges.
In order to
seal a drug charge under ch. 94C, s.34, the following 4 conditions must
1) The person has not previously been convicted of a violation of any
provision of ch. 94C or other provision of prior law relative to
narcotic drugs or harmful drugs as defined in said prior law, or
convicted of a felony under the laws of any state or of the United
States relating to such drugs;
2) The person has had his case continued without a finding (CWOF) to a certain
date, or has been convicted and placed on probation;
3) The person has not violated any of the conditions of said continuance
or said probation, and;
4) The period of probation has ended.
No Waiting Period, No Prohibition on Sealing Even After Probation
If the above 4 conditions have been met, the person can
IMMEDIATELY petition the court to seal the first-offense drug possession
Unlike other criminal charges, the fact that probation was
imposed is NOT a bar to an immediate petition to seal. The person need
not wait 10 or 15 years to seal. Finally, even first-offense drug
convictions (as opposed to dismissals) can be sealed.
Note, however, that a petition to seal a first-offense drug charge must
be filed with the court the charge originated from and the judge who
hears the petition has discretion to deny the petition if the judge
feels that the petitioner has met the test for sealing, as defined by
case law. Sealing is not automatic.
What To Do If You Have a First-Offense Drug Charge With Probation
If you have a first-offense drug charge that may qualify for
sealing, contact an attorney with experience in sealing criminal records
to determine your best course of action. The mechanics for sealing a
first-offense drug charge are the same as for sealing any other crime
under ch. 276, s.100C, and the petitioner stands a better chance of
success when aided by an attorney who understands the process, relevant
case law and substantive legal tests that the court considers.
Having any criminal charges on your CORI can seriously impact your
educational and job prospects. If you can have a charge sealed from
your CORI, it usually makes sense to do so. After a record has been
sealed, when someone tries to see your record, they are told that you
have no record; they are NOT told that you have a record that has been