Can You Become a Police Officer With an Expunged Felony in Maryland?

Can You Become a Police Officer With an Expunged Felony in Maryland?

Police officers in Maryland are charged with a special duty to protect and serve the citizens of the state. As part of the requirements to become a police officer, a candidate must not have a felony conviction on their record. Unfortunately, this also includes an expunged felony conviction. However, every felony arrest, and even charge, does not result in a conviction. In the following article, our Maryland expungement attorney from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice looks more closely at the requirements to become a Maryland police officer.

Can You Become a Police Officer with a Criminal Record in Maryland?

To be eligible to become a police officer in the State of Maryland, a candidate must meet specific statewide requirements. Depending on the city or county where you are applying, there might be additional requirements.

The basic requirements include being a United States citizen, being twenty-one years of age or older, having a high school diploma or equivalent, and passing an investigative background check.

As part of the background check, a candidate cannot have a felony conviction or a misdemeanor conviction for a disqualifying charge, including any drug-related charges. If you have a criminal record and are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, contact our Maryland expungement attorney to determine if your record will prohibit you from becoming a police officer.

Felony Charges Vs. Felony Conviction in Maryland

Every felony arrest or charge does not necessarily end in a conviction. How a felony will impact your potential career as a Maryland police officer will depend on the disposition of your case.

If you were arrested for a potential felony, there are several potential outcomes. The best possible outcome is that you are detained for a crime but not charged. While the arrest will appear on your record, it will be automatically expunged in sixty days.

If you are charged, you will not necessarily be convicted. You could be granted probation before judgment (PBJ). A PBJ is not a conviction; however, it also not a finding of not guilty. If you received a PBJ, the judge found you guilty and struck the finding of guilt, so you could be sentenced without having a conviction on your record.

The prosecutor, with approval from the court, could choose to postpone your criminal charges indefinitely. This disposition is known as a stet in Maryland. Because there is no formal trying of facts, a stet is not a conviction and is eligible for expungement. The prosecutor could also drop the charges against you.

Your case could also go to tria,l and you could be acquitted. If you were charged with a felony, you are entitled to have your record expunged if you were found not guilty.

A felony conviction, on the other hand, means that a formal verdict of guilt was found against the charged individual. In this case, even if your charge is eligible for expungement, you will not be able to apply for the police force. Contact our Maryland expungement attorney if you have been arrested or charged with a felony for more information on how many years a felony shows up on a background check in Maryland and how to expunge it.

Expunging a Felony Charge in Maryland

As stated above, several dispositions are possible if you were arrested for a felony. While a felony conviction will disqualify you from becoming a police officer in Maryland, a felony arrest or charge could be expunged from your record.

The requirements to expunge your record will depend on the disposition of your case.

If you were acquitted or found not guilty, the charge against you is not automatically expunged. Generally, you must wait three years to petition the court to expunge a finding of not guilty or an acquittal. However, if you file a General Waiver, then you are eligible to petition for an expungement immediately after the disposition is entered. This option is also available if a judge dismissed your case. A General Waiver will relinquish any rights you have to sue the arresting authority.

If you were granted a PBJ, then you are permitted to file an expungement motion after three years from the disposition or the date on which you completed the probation, whichever is later.

When the prosecution has stayed your case, you have to wait three years from the date the stet was entered.

In the situation where you were charged for a crime, but the prosecution decided to drop the charges, you are also required to wait three years before petitioning for an expungement. However, as with an acquittal or finding of not guilty, you can file a General Waiver to petition the court before the three-year period.

If you were arrested or charged with a felony but not convicted, our Maryland expungement attorney is available to assist you in clearing your record.

How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Affect You Becoming a Police Officer in Maryland

There are a number of misdemeanor convictions that will disqualify you from becoming a police officer in Maryland. However, not every misdemeanor conviction will create an impossible roadblock to pursuing a career in law enforcement. That does not mean that you should allow the conviction to stay on your record. Maryland law especially lists misdemeanor charges that are eligible for expungement. There is a mandatory waiting period of ten years from the date you completed your sentence, including probation, for most of the charges. For some specific misdemeanors, such as second-degree assault or a domestic violence charge, the waiting period is fifteen years. If you have a misdemeanor conviction on your record, contact our Maryland expungement attorney to determine if you are eligible to clear your record.

Call Our Maryland Attorney if You Want to Be a Police Officer But Have a Criminal Record

A criminal record could preclude you from becoming a police officer, especially if you have a felony conviction. However, not every charge or disposition will disqualify you from a career in law enforcement. Our Maryland expungement attorneys will thoroughly review your situation and will help you try to clear your record. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 826-5656 to schedule a free appointment.