Can I fix a Mistake on My Criminal Record?

What kinds of mistakes can show up on my CORI?

Mistakes may include:

  • Misspelled or wrong names, wrong birthdays, wrong place where you were born, a wrong Social Security number;
  • Or there may be aliases that are not yours;
  • Information about what happened in your cases may be wrong;
  • A case that is closed may be listed as still open;
  • A case where you were found not guilty may be listed as dismissed; or,
  • There may be cases on the CORI that are not yours.

How do I fix mistakes on my CORI?

At the court where your case was heard, you can ask a probation officer to fix some mistakes. If a case on your CORI is listed as open, but it is really closed, you can ask a probation officer to fix the mistake. Probation officers can fix misspellings and clerical errors. They may be able to fix other small mistakes also.

You also can call:

  • the Office of the Commissioner of Probation at 617-727-5300 to fix mistakes on your CORI;
  • the DCJIS CORI Unit:(617) 660-4640 and ask for help.

More serious mistakes may require you to file a motion in court.

Errors with warrants.

Sometimes a case is listed as open because the court thinks you did not pay a fine or court costs or you did not show up for a hearing. If a case is listed as open, check your CORI to see if there is a “W” in the status column on the right of the page. “W” stands for warrant. If you think there may be a warrant, seek help from an attorney immediately. If there is a warrant, you can be arrested by the police and might be held in jail if you appear in court.

If there is a warrant for your arrest, you should contact a lawyer immediately so he can help get it cleared.  You will most likely have to appear in court to resolve it, even if it is an error.

Removing someone else’s cases from your CORI and correcting court errors.

Sometimes, another person’s criminal case shows up on your CORI. This can happen when people have similar names or the same birthdays, or if a person gave a fake name when arrested. The police or court staff also may have typed the wrong information into the computer or made other errors.

If this happened to you, get a copy of your own CORI. After you get your CORI, mark which cases are not yours. There are several things you can do to fix your record:

  • Call the probation office at the court where the cases were heard and ask for help fixing your record (You can find a list of courts and their phone numbers on the Massachusetts Courts website);
  • Call the Office of the Commissioner of Probation at 617-727-5300 and explain that you want to talk to someone about correcting mistakes on your CORI;
  • Call the DCJIS CORI Unit:(617) 660-4640 and ask for help;
  • Or fill out the Massachusetts Incorrect Criminal Offender Information Complaint form. See DJCIS guidelines on how-to correct incorrect CORI Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record.

If the probation office does not fix the mistake, it is likely you will need to file a motion in the court where the case comes from to correct the mistake.

It may be easier to show that the case does not belong to you if you look at the court file. A police report in the court file may have a mug shot or a description of the defendant. The police who made the arrest may be able to give you more information. The police may take your fingerprints and compare them to those in the police file for the case. If the police have a photo of the person they arrested, you can use the photo to show probation that you are not the same person. If the police have fingerprints for the person they arrested, you can have your own fingerprints taken to prove they made a mistake in listing you as the defendant.

Right to access to your own CORI.

CORI subjects have a right to inspect and obtain a copy of their own records.  You have a right to request a free “self-audit” every 90 days to learn who accessed your records, when, and for what purpose.

Unauthorized access to someone’s CORI is a criminal offense subject to imprisonment and fines.