Massachusetts has criminal records available online at Mass.gov. Anyone has the ability to view these records, at least in part.
What Are Criminal Records?
Criminal records hold all of your past criminal history. These records may be public in some cases, so others have the potential to access them.
Your criminal records may include:
- Past arrest information
- Juvenile charges
- Current and pending charges
- Acquitted charges
It’s also typical for misdemeanors and felonies to come up on these reports, though it depends on the requester’s level of clearance.
How Are Criminal Records Used?
Your criminal records could be used in a number of different ways. Most people have their records accessed only during background searches for work. Your records might be used for:
- Voter registration
- Military services
- Approval to rent a property
- Security clearance
- Fostering or adopting
- For law enforcement purposes
- To help you obtain a visa or for naturalization
- If you want to buy firearms
- When you want to obtain a CDL
These are just some of the times when your criminal records may come up and be searched by others.
How Can Someone Access Your Criminal Records?
It is illegal in Massachusetts for anyone to require you to present a copy of your CORI records to them. Depending on the organization, it may use CORI to do a search. The level of the organization, and its clearance, determines what information it sees. For example, banks and hospitals see all adult convictions and pending cases. Schools can access all non-convictions, pending cases, and adult convictions. Summer camps see juvenile information as well as adult. Child care services see everything except civil, non-incarcerable offenses or expunged offenses.
With standard access, people may see murder, manslaughter, sex offense, and pending cases. Non-convictions and misdemeanors over five years old aren’t shown. Felonies over 10 years past the release date are also not included.
Massachusetts allows anyone to use the name-based record check (CORI) to search criminal records. Organizations may register to use iCORI, the search system, to pull criminal background checks on others.
Sex offenders in Massachusetts must register through the Sex Offender Registry if they live in the state, attend school there or work there. Anyone may search the registry (SORI) to see who is in violation of the registry, how many offenders are in a community, and other information. The information provided is based on the offender’s classification level.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
Massachusetts allows individuals to check others’ criminal histories through the name-based record check (CORI). To do this, individuals need to register for an online iCORI account with a valid Massachusetts I.D. card or driver’s license. For a personal request, you’ll pay $25. For an open-access request, you’ll pay $50. Affidavits of indigency are free to those who are homeless and who need a record check.
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