Considering how often things such as background checks and criminal records can impact your eligibility for employment, housing, credit and other major life factors, it is understandable that you are concerned about a DUI charge on your record, whether it was dismissed or convicted. Massachusetts offers the opportunity to petition to have your criminal records sealed, but is that available for a charge for driving under the influence?

The option to petition is available, yes. Whether or not the courts grant your petition is handled on a case-by-case basis. For DUI convictions, you may have earned a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on if it was your first offense or a repeated offense. Per Mass.gov, you may petition to have your criminal record sealed 5 years after conviction for a misdemeanor, or five years after any prison time served, assuming no additional offenses. For felony charges, you may petition after 10 years. This includes misdemeanor DUI charges and felony DUI charges.

If you were not convicted and your charge was either not guilty or you worked to have your DUI charge dismissed, you may petition immediately. You must petition in the court where the case was first filed. Even with a “not guilty” charge or a dismissed DUI charge, courts handle consideration on a case-by-case basis and may hand down decisions to seal court records based on circumstances surrounding the case.

This has been an educational blog post for reference and information only, and does not stand in for actionable legal counsel and advice.