It is far more common that you might think for folks to have a criminal record. Whether it represents a youthful mistake or a series of unfortunate events during a trying period in your life, in many cases this record does not reflect the person that you are today. Unfortunately, nonetheless, your criminal record can follow you through life, affecting your ability to get jobs, get professionally licensed, and receive financial aid. However, in Maryland, there is a way that you can clean up your criminal record of eligible convictions, arrests, and other dispositions: expungement. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our knowledgeable Maryland expungement attorneys have years of experience helping clients get their past convictions, arrests, and other dispositions removed from their criminal record so that they can close the book on their pasts. Below, we explain what happens when you get a conviction expunged from you record in Maryland, and how our Maryland expungement lawyers can help you if your conviction is eligible for expungement.
Not all criminal convictions are eligible to be expunged from your record, even after many years. For example, the most serious offenses like rape and homicide cannot be expunged. Most crimes for which expungement is available after a conviction are listed under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, although there are some other sections of the code where additional crimes can be found. You should always consult with an experienced Maryland expungement attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, who can take a look at the specifics of your conviction and advise you whether or not it is eligible under Criminal Procedure § 10-110 or any other part of the code.
One thing to note is that any eligible convictions do not become eligible until after a waiting period of at least 10 years has passed. As such, whether you can petition for an expungement will depend on the age of your convictions as well as the crime of which you were convicted. If your petition is based on an eligible misdemeanor conviction under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, you are permitted to file for an expungement 10 years after you completed your sentence, including parole, probation, or mandatory supervision. If it is a felony listed under this section, you can file 15 years after you completed your sentence. For petitions based on a violation of Criminal Law Article § 3-203, common law battery, or an offense classified as a domestically related crime under Criminal Procedure Article § 6-233, the waiting period will be 15 years from the date you completed your sentence, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony.
After a conviction has been expunged from your record in the state of Maryland, it will not show up on an official state background check, unless it is being done for special purposes like joining the military or becoming a police officer. The state agency responsible can also notify the FBI and request that the conviction be removed from their database as well, which will prevent it from coming up on a federal background check. You will not be required to disclose the conviction once it has been expunged, and you can answer no if an employer asks if you have been convicted of a crime (unless you have other convictions that have not been expunged). It also should not appear on any private criminal background checks conducted on you, although they are sometimes not up to date and can have old information on them.
If you are interested in getting a past conviction expunged, the first thing you should do is to reach out to a skilled Maryland expungement lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. The expungement process is complicated and time-consuming and it is best to have trained counsel who can guide you through the necessary steps and make things as easy as possible on you. The first thing we will do is help you acquire a copy of your official state criminal record. This is important because people can often misremember what they were convicted of or when the conviction occurred, or forget about old charges altogether, and only after reviewing the official record can we be sure exactly which of your convictions are eligible.
Once we have determined if the crimes you were convicted of can be expunged, and whether the waiting period has passed, then we can prepare the necessary petition or petitions and send them to you for your approval and signature. Once you have returned them, we will file the petitions with the proper courts and notify the necessary authorities under the law that the application is being made. If there are any objections from the prosecutor or the court to the petition, which usually does not happen, we can deal with them and even appear in court at a hearing to argue in favor of the granting of the petition if necessary. Once the petition has been granted, we can follow up with the proper agencies to make sure the crime has been removed from your state record.
Although some convictions are not eligible for expungement, many are, especially if they were for misdemeanor charges. An expungement can make a huge difference in your life by preventing most prospective employers and others who run a background check on you from seeing your criminal history. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our veteran Maryland criminal defense attorneys have successfully helped clients all across the state of Maryland petition for expungement and get their records cleaned up. We will make the process as easy as possible for you and make sure that all your questions are answered. For a free consultation, call our firm today at (410) 826-5656.