Applying for a job can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, but it can become even more stressful if you have a criminal record. Many companies will run a criminal background check as part of the application and interview process. Although there are laws and regulations that limit how they can use the results of these background checks in considering the overall merits of a job applicant, it is never a good look for an employer to see that you have a criminal record, especially if it is extensive and some of the arrests or convictions are recent. As such, it is important to consider the possibility of getting your past arrests and convictions expunged, which would prevent them from showing up on most background checks. Below, our skilled Maryland expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice explain when and how employers can run background checks and ask about criminal history, what will typically show up on a background check, and how we may be able to help you get your record expunged.
All employers in Maryland are required to ask for your consent before running a background check on you. In accordance with a new law that took effect in early 2020, employers at companies that employ 15 or more persons in the state of Maryland are no longer allowed to ask you about your criminal history or a conduct a criminal background check during the initial job application process. They not permitted to ask about your previous convictions or to conduct a criminal background check until the initial, in-person interview. There are exceptions where another federal or state law requires or authorizes the employer to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history or the employer provides services or care to minors or vulnerable adults the employer provides services or care to minors or vulnerable adults.
Some employers and professional licensure associations will require you to undergo a fingerprinting process, and your fingerprints will be checked against the records held by the state and FBI depositories. This process offers the most accurate and complete picture of a person’s criminal history, and will usually show up any and all records of interaction with law enforcement, save for minor traffic violations and the like. Because most court and arrest records are a matter of public record, however, there are also many private background check companies have compiled this information in such a way that they can use your identifying information to track down a relatively accurate record of your criminal history.
While these private companies, which are used by most employers, are obviously not as accurate as official government of FBI records, they are still fairly accurate. Maryland law does not allow these private background check companies to report on arrests or convictions more than 7 years old unless the job for which you are applying is a salaried position where the salary will equal or is expected to equal $20,000 or more. Otherwise, most of your arrests and convictions are likely to appear on their report, assuming it is a reputable and experienced background check company they are using.
Many arrests, convictions, and other dispositions that haunt your job application process by continually showing up on background checks may be eligible for expungement without you even realizing it. The legislature passed and the governor signed into law a 2018 bill that expanded eligibility for expungements to include even more criminal offenses. For any felony conviction eligible under Maryland Criminal Procedure Article § 10-110, you must wait 15 years after the successful completion of your sentence, including any parole, probation, or mandatory supervision ordered 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 the disposition of the case.
After you contact a knowledgeable Maryland expungement lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we will collect your criminal background information, assess what convictions or other dispositions are eligible for an expungement, and work with you to file the sometimes complex, time-consuming paperwork associated with a petition to expunge. We will handle everything possible from our end to makes things easy and convenient for you. Once your record has expunged, it will not show up on official state databases except in situations where exemptions are applicable, like applying to be a law enforcement officer. It can also be requested that the FBI remove it from their database, a request they will typically honor. Furthermore, the information will not be reported out to private background check companies any longer, although some may still have old information on their sites from prior to the expungement taking effect. You also cannot be required to disclose information to an employer about expunged offenses, again with limited exceptions
Most times, your criminal record will show up on a background check conducted by a potential employer during the job application process. However, for many misdemeanors and even some felonies, you can expunge these offenses from your record and they will no longer appear in most searched. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our experienced Maryland expungement attorneys can help you determine if and when you are eligible for an expungement and help you prepare and file the paperwork to get any eligible arrests or convictions expunged from your records. Call our office at (410) 694-7291 today to set up a free consultation.