Having a guilty plea on your record could make it difficult to find employment or housing. If you have entered a guilty plea to a charge, you could be eligible to have it expunged under certain circumstances. Maryland law explicitly lists charges that are eligible for expungement, including nuisance crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies. Our experienced Maryland expungement attorney at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice looks at guilty pleas in more detail below.
Certain crimes are considered minor “nuisance” crimes under Maryland law. If you pleaded guilty to or were convicted of one of these charges, you are eligible to petition the court of expungement after three years from the date of the disposition. Some of the offenses that fall into this category include public urination, public defecation, obstructing the passage of another person in a public area, vagrancy, public consumption of alcohol, riding public transportation without paying, and more. It is critical to speak with our Maryland expungement attorney to review the facts surrounding your particular charges and your guilty plea.
Maryland law specifies what charges are eligible for expungement. If you have pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor or felony, it is essential to speak with our Maryland expungement attorney to determine if you are permitted to petition the court to have your conviction expunged.
If you are statutorily eligible to file a motion for expungement for a felony conviction, you must abide by the prescribed waiting period. In Maryland, you must wait fifteen years from when you completed your sentence, including probation or parole, to petition the court. If you are charged with another crime during that period, you must wait until you are eligible to expunge the more recent offense, too, before you can expunge the older offense.
In the case of a conviction for a misdemeanor, the waiting period is ten years from completing your sentence. However, there is an exception for second-degree assault or domestic violence: You must wait fifteen years to expunge those charges.
Under Maryland law, your case could end with “probation before judgment,” or PBJ. PBJ occurs when a person is found guilty, either through a plea or verdict, but the finding of guilt is taken back by the court before they “judge” you. This means that despite the guilty plea, a record of conviction is not entered.
When a person gets probation before judgment, they are placed on probation for a period of time. The length of your probation will depend on the original offense and can range from three to five years. Once you complete your probation, the PBJ will remain on your record. However, unlike a guilty conviction, it can be expunged much faster. The one exception to this if the underlying charge was driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated; those charges cannot be expunged quickly even for PBJ.
Before you can have your guilty plea or verdict converted to a PBJ for expungement purposes, you must be eligible for PBJ. First of all, PBJ is never guaranteed and falls to the judge’s discretion, but first-time offenders often qualify. If you had another conviction or PBJ in the previous ten years, then you will not be eligible for BPJ now.
If a repeat offender is not statutorily prohibited from receiving PBJ, the court could grant probation if their lawyer can demonstrate to the court that the defendant would be responsive to probation. In this case, it is crucial to have your our Maryland expungement attorney represent you.
If you plead guilty or went to trial and received a guilty verdict, your case is usually over, and you would now have a conviction on your record. However, you could try to have your guilty conviction converted to probation before judgment.
One avenue you have to convert your conviction is to file a motion for reconsideration of sentence. Our Maryland expungement attorney will review your case to determine if this is a viable option to have the judge cancel the conviction on your record and re-enter it as a PBJ.
You have ninety days from the end of your case to file a motion for reconsideration. A judge could hold the request to revisit your sentence for up to five years from the date you filed the motion. Through a motion for reconsideration of sentence, our office will request that the judge modify your sentence to the more favorable PBJ.
There is no harm in filing this motion and it could only improve your situation. In many cases, a judge will reconsider the verdict after you have completed a portion of your original sentence. For instance, a judge could wait until after you have paid any required restitution, completed your probation, or fulfilled your community service obligation before reconsidering your sentence.
If the outcome is converted to a BPJ instead of a conviction, you could be able to get the case expunged from your record more quickly.
If you have pleaded guilty to a crime in Maryland, you should contact our Maryland expungement attorney to discuss your legal options to have the guilty plea cleared from your criminal record. While it might appear hopeless at first, your charge could be eligible for expungement or there could be other alternatives available to have your record cleared or modified. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.