One of the most common reasons an individual will file for expungement is to clear their record of any charges or violations that could hinder their ability to find employment or an apartment. Background checks are a staple in determining if someone should be hired, rent an apartment, or even qualify for a personal loan. If you have a criminal charge on your background check, you limit your opportunities. Fortunately, an expungement will eliminate a charge from your record. Our Maryland expungement attorney at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice examines expungements and background checks.
When a Maryland court grants an expungement order, all the information and records pertaining to your expunged charge or violation is removed from public access. This information will be erased from your criminal record and will not appear on any standard background investigation.
It is important to note that an expungement order only pertains to specific records, including police and court records. In today’s world, an expungement will not remove your information from records the press maintains or from social media. While your charge will not appear in a standard background check, an internet search could still uncover the information.
Completely clearing the public record could require additional litigation. The Maryland court does not have jurisdiction over every aspect of the public record, such as published interviews, press stories, or arrest reports carried by local or neighborhood newspapers. However, for a background check for most employment situations or rental applications, an expunged charge will not appear.
As stated above, when your record is expunged, it should be completely removed from the public record. That means any background check, no matter how thorough, should not find a trace of your record.
Unfortunately, that is not always how it works. Once a Maryland court has entered an expungement order, it must notify all the respective entities that your record should be eliminated. This does not always happen, and some of the public records and various databases background investigators use to review criminal records are not properly notified.
This is one of the many reasons why it is essential to have an experienced Maryland expungement attorney working on your case. In addition to ensuring all of the procedural requirements and deadlines are met, our office will work to confirm that your charge of violation has been cleared from your record.
There is a difference between sealed and expunged records. When a record is sealed, it means it remains on file but is no longer accessible in the public record. This is important because the charge is not eliminated from your record. If you commit another crime or violation, then the record could be unsealed.
An expunged offense is removed from the public record and deleted from all police, court, and other state records. The expunged charge no longer exists.
However, in terms of standard background checks, both sealed and expunged records should not appear.
As stated above, expunged records should not appear on your record. However, what types of charges or convictions are expungable under Maryland law? Whether you can have your record expunged will depend on the charge and the disposition of your case.
If you were convicted of a nuisance crime, such as public urination or vagrancy, then you could have your record expunged after three years upon completing your sentence.
A conviction for a misdemeanor will depend on the exact charge. Maryland specifies which misdemeanors are eligible for expungement. You should speak with our experienced Maryland expungement attorney to determine if you are permitted to petition the court for your particular charge. As with a nuisance crime, there is a waiting period, but, you must wait ten years to file for an expungement in the case of a misdemeanor. If you were charged with a second-degree assault or a domestic violence crime, the waiting period is fifteen years. The time is from the date you completed your sentence, not the date of disposition.
If you were convicted of a felony, the waiting period is also fifteen years. Every felony conviction is not eligible for expungement. Maryland law also specifically lists every felony charge that is eligible for expungement.
Not every arrest and charge ends with a conviction. In some cases, you could receive probation before judgment (PBJ). If you receive PBJ, the judge will strike a finding of guilt in order to sentence you without having a conviction entered. This is at the judge’s discretion. While you could still be sentenced to three to five years of probation, you will only have to wait three years from completing your sentence to petition the court for expungement.
In some cases, your charges will be acquitted, your case will be dismissed, or the prosecution will request an indefinite postponement from the court. If either of these occurs, you are entitled to have the charges expunged. If you file a General Waiver, releasing the arresting authority of all liability, you could file a motion immediately. If you do not file the waiver, you are required to wait three years.
We all make mistakes in life. The last thing you want is for a mistake to permanently scar your record, making every background check a roadblock. If you have charges or convictions on your record making every background check a nightmare, contact our experienced Maryland expungement lawyer today. Our office will thoroughly review your situation to determine what options you have. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 826-5656 to schedule a free, confidential appointment.