What is in a Criminal Record?

What is in a Criminal Record?

We hear about criminal records all the time: on the news, in job applications, and in court. But what exactly is a criminal record? What information goes on one and who can see this information? It is important for anybody who has ever been charged with a crime to understand how criminal records work.

What is a CORI?

CORI stands for “Criminal Offender Record Information.” A CORI is an official record that identifies a person with a crime. The data contained in a CORI includes:

  • CORI reports
  • Arrest records
  • Other data like police reports and mug shots

CORI Reports

A CORI report is a criminal record kept by the government. They keep track of appearances in Massachusetts’s criminal courts. They contain only information about court appearances in this state. Out-of-state information is not included. On a CORI report you will find a record of:

  • Your adult criminal court appearances, beginning no earlier than when you were 17 years old
  • Your criminal court appearances for when you were at most 17 years old or younger


You can request a CORI report online or by paper. However, if you want a copy of a CORI report that shows juvenile court appearances you need to make your request directly to the Commissioner of Probation.

Arrest Records

The other type of criminal record is called an arrest report. An arrest report lists each time a person has been arrested by a law enforcement agency. These records do not include criminal charges that are initiated by a summons (paper notification that you have been charged with a crime).

One of the ways arrest reports are different from CORI reports is that arrest reports have a record of your fingerprints. When you are arrested you will be fingerprinted by police. Each time you are arrested you will submit a new set of fingerprints for this record.

You can obtain an arrest record from either the Massachusetts State Police or the FBI.

Requiring a CORI

In Massachusetts it is illegal for anyone to require that you provide them with a copy of your CORI. However, there are some exceptions to this law. For example, your employer is allowed to ask you about felony convictions and certain misdemeanor convictions within the last 3 years.

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT A CORI OR A CRIMINAL RECORD, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.

CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.

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