Can an arson charge over 10 years be removed or sealed .this is in Massachusetts

son arrested when 17 for arson believe convicted as he turned 18 .Now 30 finishing a 11 month sent. needs to enter **** rehab to regain custdoy of child .the arson charge stopping him from the rehabs which he desparately needs. After so many years can any thing be done,son in Middleton was there before went to the farm ,now cannot secondary to the charge he says was supposed to grandfathered in not sure of this .He does need the rehab .Wuld appreciate any answer you can give

Asked on July 6, 2009 under Criminal Law, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your situation sounds quite complicated.  The facts here aren't completely clear.  I'm not sure that your son qualifies to have the arson removed from his record (this is called "expungement").  As to his need for rehab and how to arrange for it I cannot say.  What you need to do is to consult with an attorney on all of this.  You will need to tell them the whole story and then listen to just how they advise to best handle this situation.  If money is an issue you can try legal aid or, perhaps there is a law school nearby to where you live,  they run free/low cost legal clinics that can probably help you.

Best of luck.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm not a Massachusetts attorney, but I doubt that there's much that can be done here.  In states that have laws to remove or seal past criminal records, those laws almost always include a requirement that the person applying for that has to have been arrest-free or conviction-free for a number of years, and ten is a common number.  If your son is serving a sentence right now, I think this is not in the picture.

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