Can the FBI See Expunged Maryland Criminal Records?

Can the FBI See Expunged Maryland Criminal Records?

There are many reasons people in Maryland want to have their criminal charges, violations, or convictions expunged from their permanent record. One common purpose of filing a motion for expungement is to clear your record for an employment background check. In some cases, a person is applying for a federal position and requires a more extensive FBI background check. One question people have is whether an expungement in Maryland clears their record from those maintained by the FBI. Typically, the answer is yes. Our Maryland expungement lawyer at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice takes a closer look at this concern in the following article.

Does the FBI See Your Maryland Criminal Record Even After Expungement?

An expungement is a court proceeding in Maryland where the record of a conviction or arrest is eliminated from a person’s record. If this process is successful, the charge will no longer appear on police records, court records, or other state records. Once a criminal record is expunged, a person is no longer required to disclose the past offense when applying for a job or when completing a rental application. Additionally, the charge will no longer appear on a background check if a potential employer or financial institution searches the public records. However, while this information will be removed at the local and state level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) maintains its own repository of arrests and criminal charges that occur in the United States. Our Maryland expungement attorney will work to ensure that your record has been cleared after an expungement is granted.

The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) division serves as the FBI’s central storehouse for criminal records. The CJIS maintains the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is the central U.S. database for tracking crime-related information. If you have been arrested or charged in Maryland, your record is kept in the FBI’s federal database separate from the records that are maintained at the state and local level.

The CJIS receives dispositions from every jurisdiction in the country, including state criminal history repositories, local and state police departments, and the courts. Additionally, the CJIS will gather information from federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This means that the CJIS holds information for every criminal record in the country.

Expunging Your Maryland Criminal History from the FBI’s Records

While the CJIS maintains criminal records of offenders throughout the country, it does not have the authority to expunge the information. The CJIS is only permitted to expunge a criminal record when receiving an official request from a local or state authority.

When a Maryland court grants a motion for expungement, it will issue an order directing the various local and state agencies under its jurisdiction to remove any information regarding the charge and the defendant from its public records.

The FBI will receive notice of the expungement motion. However, Maryland courts lack jurisdiction over the FBI or the CJIS. Because there is no jurisdiction, the FBI is not required to comply with the Maryland court’s order to expunge a record. Despite the lack of jurisdiction, the FBI will generally honor a state court’s order and expunge the record from its database. In situations where the FBI does not expunge the record, our Maryland expungement attorney would usually contact them to facilitate clearing your record.

There is a distinction between criminal records maintained by the CJIS and the FBI files of ongoing investigation or files kept on people of interest. If a suspect appears on a watchlist, even if they have no criminal record, then it is impossible to expunge information from these files. However, under these circumstances, this information is typically not available to the public.

Expunging Charges from Maryland Background Checks vs. FBI Background Checks

One of the main reasons people want criminal charges or arrests expunged from their record is so that their record does not show up on a background check and negatively affect their ability to find employment or rent an apartment. An FBI background check is more comprehensive than the background check you would undergo for a typical job or as part of a rental application. An applicant will generally undergo an FBI background check if they are a candidate for a position with the federal government or a company that works with the government.

Under this level of scrutiny, the background screening will include any interaction a person had with any law enforcement agencies across the country, such as traffic violations, arrests, convictions, and even minor infractions.

In some instances, FBI background checks have relied on databases that are incomplete or not up to date. If you have had records expunged in Maryland, it is critical that you ensure that the FBI has been notified of the motion and complied with the expungement request. Additionally, any delay in the expungement process could result in records being kept in the NCIS database longer than they should be. You should have the assistance of our Maryland expungement attorney to keep the process moving forward.

Call Our Maryland Expungement Attorney if You Have Concerns About Your FBI Criminal Records

If you have expunged an arrest or criminal charge in Maryland, you want to ensure you receive the full benefit of the expungement. That means making sure your record is cleared at the local, state, and federal levels. If your charge has been eliminated from public records locally and throughout Maryland, you do not want that charge existing in a federal database. Our Maryland expungement attorneys are committed to helping ensure expungement recipients have clear records going forward. If you have concerns about the FBI having your record on file, contact the Law Office of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.