Getting your criminal record expunged in Maryland is never a guarantee. When an expungement petition is filed with the Maryland court, a judge will consider the request, but they do have the right to deny the expungement. In many cases, expungements are purely discretionary. Below, our Maryland expungement attorney from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice looks at some of the reasons why petitions for expungement are denied in Maryland.
Under Maryland law, Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 10-110(a), an individual is permitted to file an expungement petition to remove their records from the police records, court records, or other state records. It further provides an exhaustive list of the violations that can be expunged.
Not every charge is eligible for expungement. For example, if you were charged with a minor traffic violation, you are unable to expunge the violation and it will always be a part of your driving record. If you file a petition and lack the statutory authority to get an expungement, the court will deny your petition. Therefore, it is crucial to have your charges reviewed by our Maryland expungement attorney to make sure you qualify for expungement.
As discussed above, if you are not legally eligible for expungement, it will be denied by a judge in Maryland. However, even if you do qualify for expungement, there are a number of other reasons your petition might be denied:
A common reason expungement petitions are denied by judges is because the petition was either incomplete or contained mistakes. Additionally, if deadlines are missed or procedural errors occurred, the court will deny or delay your petition. While the process might look straightforward, you must comply with many specific statutory regulations. When petitioning the court for expungement, you should have the assistance of our experienced Maryland expungement attorney.
You will not be eligible for expungement of a violation if you have other pending criminal charges. Section 10-105(e)(4)(ii) of the Maryland Code prohibits seeking expungement while you are a current defendant in an ongoing criminal proceeding. If you have pending criminal charges, you should speak with our Maryland expungement attorney to review your options.
Your subsequent conduct could also impact your eligibility to have a charge expunged if your received probation before judgment. In most cases, if your charge resulted in probation before judgment, you are entitled to have that charge expunged after you have completed your probation. However, if you are charged with another crime within three years of the entry of probation, you are no longer eligible for expungement and a judge will deny your petition.
Under Maryland law, if one charge in a “unit” is not eligible for expungement, then none of the related charges are eligible. To understand how this affects your expungement petition, you need to know what a unit is under Maryland law.
When a person is charged with a violation or crime, those charges are given a case number. In a situation where there are multiple charges arise from the same incident, then all the charges are included under the signal case number. When you petition for an expungement, this group of one or more charges in your case is called a unit. Under Maryland law, to be eligible for an expungement, all the charges in a unit must be statutorily eligible. Therefore, your petition will be denied by a judge if one of your charges from the same event does meet the requirements for expungement.
There is one exception to this restriction dealing with traffic citations. If one of the charges arising from the incident is a minor traffic violation, it will not automatically block the other charges in the unit from being expungable. If you are looking to expunge multiple charges, contact our Maryland expungement attorney.
Under Maryland law, there are specific timelines that determine when you are permitted to file an expungement petition. For instance, if you received probation before judgment, you are typically eligible to have your charge expunged after a three-year waiting period. If you file a petition before three years from the date the probation was completed, your petition will be denied.
The waiting period is also three years in cases where you were acquitted, your charges were dropped, or your case was dismissed. However, you could file your petition within three years if you filed a General Waiver and Release. If a person attempts to file their petition early and without the required release, the petition will be denied.
In those cases where expungement is available after a guilty verdict or a finding of “not criminally responsible” for listed nuisance crimes, the waiting period for filing a petition is three years from the date of the completion of the sentence. For most felonies, the waiting period is fifteen years, and for most misdemeanors, the waiting period is ten years.
It is essential to speak with a knowledgeable Maryland expungement attorney to ensure you do not file too early or wait longer than you should to avoid having your expungement denied by a judge.
When a criminal charge is on your record, it could negatively impact your life and employment opportunities for years. Fortunately, you could potentially clear your record by petitioning the court for expungement. The Maryland expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice are experienced lawyers who understand Maryland law and the requirements for expungement so that your expungement doesn’t get denied by a judge in Maryland. We will ensure your petition is correctly drafted and that you meet all necessary statutory requirements. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free appointment to discuss clearing your record.