Applying for a job, whether it is your first time or your fiftieth, can be an incredibly stressful, pressure-inducing experience. The process of preparing your resume, gathering reference information, and prepping for your interview can alone be enough to cause someone major anxiety. If you are a person with a criminal record, however, you have even more to worry about with the prospect of your criminal history showing up on a background check run by your employer before you are hired. In Maryland, there are different rules about who can and cannot access your criminal record as part of a pre-employment background check. Below, our skilled Maryland expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice explain whether the state of Maryland can see your criminal record if you apply for a state job, and how we can help you clean up your record to prevent private and public employers from seeing your criminal history.
Under state law, public employees in Maryland, meaning those employed by the state or one of its counties or municipalities, cannot be asked about their criminal history until after they have been given an in-person interview. There are a few exceptions, including positions in the state’s Department of Corrections, sheriff offices in all Maryland counties, and any position where a background check is mandated by law. Once an interview has occurred, however, the state will always ask for your permission to run a background check. If you refuse, you will almost certainly not be considered for the position, so you need to consent and be prepared for the fact that they will be able to see any criminal history you have that was not expunged. Official state background checks tend to be very accurate. Moreover, in many cases, you will also be fingerprinted and your prints will be run against the FBI database, which will show a record of any and all interactions you have had with law enforcement throughout the state of Maryland and the country.
Private employers with 15 or more employees in the state of Maryland are also not permitted to ask about criminal history until the first in-person job interview. Similar to public employers, they can and will usually ask for your permission to run a background check on you during or after this interview. Some private employers will use private background check companies that scour public records to compile a criminal history on individuals. While these private companies are not always as accurate as a state or FBI-run background check, and can sometimes show incorrect or outdated information, they still tend to be pretty accurate generally.
In Maryland, if an arrest, conviction, or other disposition is expunged from your criminal record, it will not show up on most public or private criminal background checks. However, there are some exceptions to this, including those applying to be police officers, for the military, or for any position where another state or federal law requires expunged crimes to be disclosed by the responsible agency. Further, as noted above, some private background check companies can have out-of-date information including not updating their records to remove crimes that have been expunged. Otherwise, the large majority of the time an expungement will prevent the state of Maryland as well as any other private or public employer from seeing your criminal history, and you are not required to disclose expunged arrests, convictions, or other dispositions.
There are a large number of crimes, including many misdemeanors and even some felony offenses, that are expungable under Maryland law. Not all crimes are expungable, however, and even if the crime is expungable, the statutory waiting period may have yet to expire. For any felony conviction eligible under Maryland Criminal Procedure Article § 10-110, for example, you must wait 15 years after the successful completion of your sentence before filing your petition for expungement. For any misdemeanor conviction eligible under Criminal Procedure Article § 10-110, you must wait 10 years after completion of your sentence. Arrests are automatically expunged if they do not lead to charges, and if the charges are dismissed, you can file 3 years after the date the court enters final disposition.
Any time you have a past conviction, arrest, or other disposition that you would like to get expunged from your record, the best thing you can do is reach out to an experienced Maryland expungement attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. We can make sure your chare is expungable and that any required waiting period has passed, and then can help you file the paperwork with the proper court and see the matter through. As noted above, if the expungement is granted, the charge will be removed from state databased and will not be accessible by potential employers except in limited circumstances like applying for the military or a security clearance. The state agency in possession of the records can also contact the FBI to inform them that an expungement has occurred and request they remove the matter from their database as well.
Whether you are applying to public employment with the state of Maryland, or private employment with a company or organization based in the state, they are likely to run a criminal background check on you at some point before they make their final hiring decision. However, if you are eligible for an expungement and one is granted, you can make it so that past arrests, convictions, and other dispositions will generally not show up on this background check and threaten your prospects of gainful employment. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our skilled Maryland criminal defense attorneys have years of experience successfully helping clients petition for expungement and clean up their records. For a free consultation, call our office today at (410) 826-5656.