Massachusetts Criminal Records Lookup

The following is for information purposes only

Massachusetts Criminal Records

What are Massachusetts Criminal Records? A person's Massachusetts criminal record can tell you about their past crimes. It comprises information collected and put together from trial courts, appeals courts, county and state prisons, and city, county, and state governments.

Even though most counties have different rules about collecting and storing criminal records, many of them are in online record repositories.

In Massachusetts, anyone can get a copy of their criminal record under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It means that, unless the law states, they are open to the public.

You can access these records through Criminal Background Reports run by the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). However, if a criminal record has been expunged or sealed, local people may not be able to see the information in those records.

What Are the Different Types of Massachusetts Criminal Records?

Massachusetts Criminal Records include information indicating that a person violated a specific criminal law, and most of these criminal law violations in Massachusetts fall under these types:

Criminal Driving Violations

When a police officer gives you a Massachusetts uniform citation for a criminal motor vehicle infraction, you shouldn't wait for a notice from the court. Your Massachusetts citation looks like a ticket for speeding, but it has much more information.

These are the other criminal driving violations in Massachusetts that may reflect in your citation:

  • Careless driving of a motor vehicle
  • Leaving an accident scene with property damage or a person injured
  • Operating a motor vehicle while license suspended
  • Vehicle operation without a license
  • Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI)


In Massachusetts, a felony is any crime for which the punishment is more than one year in a state prison or county jail. Murder, rape, and other serious felonies can lead to life in prison or the death penalty.

Massachusetts does not divide felonies into different groups as other states do. On the other hand, criminal law dictates the proper punishment for each crime.

If you commit a specific crime, you might get a certain punishment, but you might also get other penalties. Some examples of felonies that are against the law in Massachusetts are:

  • Burglary (up to 10 years in prison)
  • Rape (possible life sentence if convicted)
  • Manslaughter (up to 30 months in jail, 20 years in prison, or $1,000 fines are likely for this felony)
  • Theft of personal property or larceny (it carries a maximum sentence of 2 or 5 years in jail if convicted)
  • Armed assault (it has a 30-month or 10-year jail sentence)

A felony conviction is a severe offense that may lead to a lengthy state jail term and the possible loss of certain privileges and Constitutional rights, such as U.S. citizenship, residency, or other immigration advantages.

In Massachusetts, committing a felony also means losing your job and the right to vote and possess a firearm.


In Massachusetts, misdemeanors are crimes that can't be charged in court and are usually less severe than felonies. It usually gets you a year in prison at most. Misdemeanor convictions in this state may lead to more than a year in jail, depending on the crime.

Misdemeanor crimes include many examples, including:

  • Drug possession, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and ecstasy
  • Trespassing
  • Operating under the influence (OUI)
  • Causing a disturbance
  • Disorderly behavior
  • Small-time theft and shoplifting
  • Larceny
  • Destroying property on purpose

In this state, a crime is either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the sentence. Felonies include death or state prison sentences. On the other hand, a misdemeanor is a crime that can't get you killed or locked up in state prison.

Sexual Offenses

The Sex Offender Registry Board Public Website is administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security in Massachusetts. Level 2 and 3 sex offenders, as well as Level 1 sexual predators, are listed on the registry. You may search for sex offenders by name, city/town, or zip code. The website will provide you with the offender's name, address, photograph, and offense level.

How Do You Expunge Criminal Records in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts removes expunged criminal cases from the record.

Section 100E of the General Laws defines expungement as the permanent erasure or destruction of a record so that the court, any criminal justice agencies, or any other state, municipal, or county agency can no more extend access or keep the record.

If you can't get your record expunged, you may be able to seal it instead. However, sealing restricts only access to the criminal case's record.

What are your rights after your expungement?

If someone asks about your record after expungement, you cannot be charged with perjury or making a false statement by refusing to acknowledge it. You can assert that you don't have any records.

What Are the Differences Between Inmate & Jail Records in Massachusetts?

People often think that searching for inmate and jail records is the same as searching for criminal records. They are two different things and not even nearly similar.

In most states, the difference is that several criminal crimes do not result in jail time for most offenders. Some individuals may have been charged with crimes (and even convicted) yet never spent prison time. Others were just acquitted or served probation.

Inmate and jail records in Massachusetts include official information regarding those detained or jailed in the state or county-run correctional facilities and other data tracking an individual's journey through the state's penal system.

Some records include arrest warrants, police reports, mugshots, fingerprints, court appearances and documentation, and correctional facility files.

Like most states, Massachusetts has a Department of Corrections that keeps a searchable database of inmates. The office of the Department of Corrections principal record access also allows state residents to do an inmate search.

What Are Massachusetts Arrest Records?

A Massachusetts arrest record gives an official summary of an individual's arrest history. It indicates if a person has been detained, booked, questioned, or detained for investigation concerning a felony, misdemeanor, or other violation.

If an individual is not guilty of a crime, his criminal record will not reflect a conviction. This person will only have an arrest record on file as opposed to that. In most circumstances, the arrest record includes the person's not-guilty verdict.

Warrants are issued when there is sufficient evidence to arrest someone, whereas booking procedures allow for the temporary detention of an individual prior to their actual arrest. In both cases, these procedures ensure that officers have the authority to detain suspects and ensure their safety before they can be formally arrested. Each arrest event mentioned in an arrest record is backed by fingerprints, suggesting that the arresting agency submitted a ten-print arrest fingerprint card. There are arrest records accessible from both the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) State Identification Section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The following are details available in Massachusetts arrest records:

  • Crime details
  • Name, birth date, and fingerprints of the arrestee
  • Date, time, and place of arrest
  • Location of the detention facility
  • The arresting officer and warrant-issuer

How Do You Find Massachusetts Criminal Records?

Checking Massachusetts Criminal Records is open to the public, and there are many ways to get them. But, most of these are digitized (technology-applied) and complex. So if you are not tech-savvy and lack legal knowledge, it will help to ask a criminal lawyer for assistance.

Typically, Massachusetts criminal records archives date back to the early 1970s, when several organizations started collecting criminal and arrest data into an orderly, centralized database similar to the one in use today.

To attain a copy of your or someone's criminal record in Massachusetts, you can start by phoning the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (also called the DCJIS).

This department keeps criminal records for everyone within the state of Massachusetts. They also have direct exposure to criminal records from all over the United States.

You can also get your record by filing an online application via iCORI, the Criminal Offender Record Information Support system within the Massachusetts DCJIS.

The electronic database known as CORI includes criminal history information, with approximately 1.5 million reports released annually.

This technology also provides access to applications for potential employers to study and make hiring choices. However, if you want to check your record to ensure the charges shown there are accurate, you must do the following:

  • Filling out a CORI Personal Request Form
  • Send the fees for each search inquiry submission
  • Submitting a form for a self-audit request

In getting these Massachusetts Criminal Records, it is crucial to learn more about its Criminal Offender Record Information Act (CORI). With this, you'll know more about the state laws regarding criminal public records.