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What are Criminal Records in Massachusetts?

A criminal record provides official information about a person’s criminal history. It includes data compiled and assembled from local, county and state jurisdictions as well as trial courts, courts of appeals and county and state correctional facilities. Although the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies with most counties, a large percentage of records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report managed by the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS).

 

What’s Contained in a Massachusetts Criminal Record?

While criminal records vary between different individuals, most records provide general information such as the:

  • Subject’s full name and any known aliases
  • Physical descriptors
  • Current and past addresses
  • Fingerprints
  • Photograph or mugshot
  • Current and past warrants
  • Charges
  • Past arrests

What is an Arrest Record?

An arrest record in Massachusetts provides an official overview of a subject’s arrest history. It provides information on whether an individual has been detained, booked questioned or held for investigation in relation to a felony, misdemeanor or any other offense. Arrest records are maintained by different government agencies, including judicial administrative institutions.

What are Massachusetts Arrest Warrants?

Arrest warrants in Massachusetts provide law enforcement officials with the authority to arrest or detain the person(s) named in the document. Signed and issued by a judge or magistrate, arrest warrants may also be issued by a grand jury. Arrest warrants provide information linked to the order such as the name of the subject as well as the substance of the offense charged in the complaint or indictment.

What are Misdemeanors in Massachusetts?

Misdemeanors in Massachusetts are non-indictable offenses that are generally less severe than felonies. In most states, misdemeanors are punishable by only up to one year in jail. However, a person convicted of a misdemeanor in Massachusetts may be sentenced to more than one year of incarceration in the House of Corrections, depending on the crime. Some examples of crimes that are categorized as misdemeanors include:

  • Possession of controlled substances such as ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine
  • Trespassing
  • Operating under the influence (OUI)
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Shoplifting and petty theft
  • Larceny
  • Malicious property destruction
  • Disorderly person

What are Felonies?

Felonies in Massachusetts refer to any crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in a state prison or county jail. Severe felonies, like murder or rape, may lead to a life sentence or the death penalty. Unlike most states, Massachusetts does not classify felonies into different categories. Instead, the punishment for each crime is set by criminal statutes. Some crimes may have fixed sentences while others may have alternate sentences. Some of the examples of felonies in Massachusetts include:

  • Breaking and entering: carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison
  • Rape: Carries a possible penalty of a life sentence in prison
  • Manslaughter: carries a penalty of up to 30 months in a county jail or up to 20 years in prison and/or fines of up to $1,000
  • Larceny (over $250): carries a penalty of up to 2 years in jail or 5 years in prison
  • Assault with a deadly weapon: carries a penalty of up to 30 months in a house of corrections or 10 years in prison

What is a Sex Offender Listing?

Massachusetts’s sex offender listing is a public sex offender registry that contains the names of persons convicted of committing a sex crime. Maintained by the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), it contains details of Level 2 and Level 3 offenders. It provides general information about a subject including:

  • The offender’s name
  • Year of birth
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Physical descriptors
  • Conviction and adjudication date
  • Number of convictions
  • Convicted crime

Members of the public can also obtain public records or information about a sex offender by submitting a request form to the SORD at:

P.O. Box 392,

North Billerica, MA 01862

What is Massachusetts Megan’s Law?

Massachusetts Megan's Law is the informal term used to describe established state laws that govern the creation, maintenance and use of a sex offender registry. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government required that all states set up sex offender registries and offer the public information about those registered.

What are Serious Traffic Violations in Massachusetts?

Serious traffic violations in Massachusetts refer to moving and non-moving violations by vehicle drivers that result in the willful disregard for public safety. Serious violations may lead to damage to property, death, or serious bodily injury. Multiple minor traffic violations may also qualify as a traffic violation. Drivers who receive an MA traffic ticket have points or surcharges added to their driving record. An accumulation of too many surcharges may result in a penalty. Examples of serious traffic violations in Massachusetts include:

  • Driving under the influence
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run)
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • 3 or more speeding tickets or moving violation events in less than 30 days

What is a Conviction Record in Massachusetts?

A conviction record is an official document providing information that a person is found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded no contest to criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges are classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction records also include a person judged delinquent and less than honorably discharged or placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.

What are Jail and Inmate Records?

Jail and inmate records provide official information about persons detained or incarcerated in correctional facilities run by the state or county. Like most states, Massachusetts has a Department of Corrections, which maintains an inmate database that provides updates on an inmate’s status. Residents of the state can also obtain public jail and inmate records by submitting a public request to the DOC’s primary record access officer located at 50 Maple Street, Milford, MA 01757. Some of the general information provided in an inmate record include:

  • The offender’s name
  • Incarceration date
  • Expected date of release
  • Convicted offense
  • Photos (mug shots)

What are Massachusetts Parole Records?

Parole records in Massachusetts provide official information about the early release of a prisoner. Inmates who are out on parole must agree to meet certain conditions for a fixed period as part of the terms of their early release. The oversight of parolees is maintained by the Massachusetts Parole Board. It conducts parole release hearings, provides reentry services to offenders, and supervises parolees while in the community.

While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the board requires, as a condition of parole, that they pay a monthly supervision fee. The board may also agree to accept a lower fee after determining the inability of the prisoner to pay. In addition, the board may impose any conditions of parole to make sure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Massachusetts are served.

Parolees may request their own records by submitting a public request to the central Parole Board office at:

12 Mercer Road, Natick,
MA 01760

Members of the public can also obtain public parole records by submitting a request to the Parole board online or via mail.

 

What are Massachusetts Probation Records?

Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Massachusetts to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they follow probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer. Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case.

Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. Intensive probation is a form of very strict probation that has conditions that vary from state to state but that emphasize punishment and control of the offender within the community.

What are Massachusetts Juvenile Criminal Records?

A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information about criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered convicted of a crime like an adult but instead, are found to be “adjudicated delinquent”. These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.

Massachusetts History and Accuracy of Criminal Records

The accuracy of criminal records data largely depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Massachusetts criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the early 1970s—which is when different institutions began to compile criminal and arrest data into an organized, centralized database, much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result, the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.

The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org varies from person to person. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes for data collection. Criminal records in the state of Massachusetts generally include the following subjects:

Massachusetts State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (351) 206-0188

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Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Criminal Record

Criminal Record

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