Worcester MA Criminal Lawyer: Who Has Access to Your Criminal Record?

A common concern of those charged with criminal offenses in Massachusetts, is to what level and extent will potential employers be able to access their criminal record information. Ultimately, the answer will depend on the nature of the job you are applying for (with jobs  involving hospitals, the elderly and children allowing for broader access) however, there are some basics.

For example, most employers will be able to get standard access to criminal record information, according to Worcester MA criminal lawyer Shane W. Surrette. This information includes pending cases, such as continuances without a finding, and misdemeanor convictions under five years old.  Similarly, felony convictions less than ten years old are available for standard access by the employer. (Note: The employer will have permanent access for convictions of certain crimes, such as sex offenses).

Beyond pending cases, however, employers will not have access to information not resulting in a conviction. For instance, a continuance without a finding that was dismissed is not available to the employer in most cases.

Furthermore, when we discuss standard access to criminal record information during the interview process, an employer may ask about an applicant’s history of convictions, but may not inquire about arrests not resulting in convictions. Similarly, during the interview process an employer may not ask about misdemeanor convictions more than five years old.

While the above restrictions apply to employers seeking criminal offender information from the state, employers may, however, choose to access criminal offender information from a private credit reporting agency. Such checks are very broad in scope and allow for information obtained from any public source.

With these standards and possibilities of inspection and inquiry by employers in place, it is now more important than ever to speak with your attorney and do your best to avoid convictions. For any questions regarding criminal matters, please contact attorney Shane W. Surrette below:

Consequences of a Guilty Finding in MA: Worcester Criminal Lawyer

Whether you are thinking about pleading guilty to a criminal offense, or are contemplating a trial on the underlying case, you need to weigh all the potential collateral consequences of your decision. One of the most significant consequences outside the courtroom is the potential for loss of license, according to Worcester Criminal Lawyer Shane W. Surrette.

Many charges in Massachusetts carry a license loss whenever a guilty finding enters. For example, even though the legislature has spoken that possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense and has no license consequences, if you are found guilty of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, you will lose your license for 2 years.

Similarly, if you are found guilty of simple possession of cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, ecstasy, or any other substance defined under classes A-E of the Massachusetts General Laws, you will lose your license for one year on each count. Also, a guilty finding on possession of heroin or cocaine with the intent to distribute the same will result in a license loss of 3 years for each guilty finding.

These lengthy license losses aren’t just attributable to drug convictions, however. For instance, if you are found guilty of defacing(vandalizing) real or personal property you will lose your license to operate a motor vehicle for 1 year. Such license loss results even if the underlying case doesn’t involve vandalism to a motor vehicle.

Furthermore, a guilty finding on unauthorized use of a motor vehicle will result in a 1 year license suspension, with a 3 year suspension for any subsequent convictions. Such an unauthorized use charge can be based on allegations that you took a family member’s vehicle without his/her consent.

Some additional charges with an accompanying guilty finding that can result in license loss include negligent operation, which carries a 60 day suspension; failing to file a return or pay state taxes, which results in an indefinite suspension; and failing to register as a sex offender, which also carries an indefinite suspension.

The license consequences of criminal convictions in Massachusetts can be disastrous. Care must be taken with your attorney to ensure that you are making decisions on how to proceed in your case, with all available information at your disposal. Without a driver’s license in Massachusetts, it can be virtually impossible to leave your home. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to.

For more information, contact Worcester criminal lawyer Shane W. Surrette at the link below:

The Breathalyzer Test: Advice from a Worcester Criminal Lawyer

Whether or not to take the breathalyzer test is probably the most important decision that you will have to make after an OUI arrest.  The answer depends on a variety of factors. For example, how much did you drink, when did you have your last drink, and what and when did you eat last are a few of the questions you will want to examine with an experienced Worcester criminal lawyer before making this decision.

Remember, just because you don’t feel intoxicated or impaired by the consumption of alcohol doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be under the .08 Massachusetts limit. It is close to impossible to say that I had a certain number of drinks so therefore I will be at a certain level. Unless you are absolutely sure that you had little or nothing to drink, taking the breathalyzer test is similar to putting your money down at the roulette table, a gamble, according to Worcester criminal lawyer Shane W. Surrette.

As a result, in most circumstances it is better not to take the breathalyzer test if your main concern is beating the criminal case. A breath test refusal, however, is not without its own significant consequences. For example, an adult first offender refusing the breathalyzer test will lose his/her license for 180 days. This period has to be served in addition to the statutory license loss of 45-90 days in the event that the government attains a conviction.

Similarly, if a not guilty finding enters after a first offense trial, a motion has to be submitted to the court for license reinstatement if the trial happens before the 180 day period ends. The court has authority to allow the motion for license reinstatement, but the court may also deny the motion.

In effect, the Commonwealth can’t force you to take the breathalyzer test, but they can make it a difficult choice based on the significant license ramifications. The license penalties also become more substantial based on the number of prior offenses.

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