Many folks do not realize the many collateral consequences that come with a criminal conviction. Even after you have served any prison sentence and paid all your fines and fees, you will still have a criminal record that will be visible to most anyone permitted to conduct a background check on you. This includes most employers, which means that criminal record can potentially keep you from achieving gainful employment, especially if your convictions are recent and serious. However, there is a process in Maryland by which many past arrests and convictions can be expunged from your record, making them invisible to most prospective employers and other who may be looking into your criminal background. Below, our skilled Maryland expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice explain what types of crimes are eligible for expungement in Maryland, how long you must wait before filing a petition to expunge, and how we can assist you in preparing and filing the petition with the proper court.
Our attorneys will begin by assisting you in requesting a copy of your full Maryland criminal record so that we can assess which of your convictions, arrests, and other dispositions are eligible for the expungement process. Once we have done this, we can begin the process of crafting the petitions. Unfortunately, you cannot file a single petition for all of the convictions and arrests on your record if you have multiple. You will have to file an individual petition for each conviction, arrest, or disposition, which can involve a lot of confusing paperwork and can be very time-consuming. This is one of the reasons that is important to seek the assistance of a skilled expungement lawyer rather than trying to expunge the matter on your own.
Once we have crafted each petition, we will submit them to you for your review and signature. If everything seems correct, we can then file the petition or petitions with the necessary court or courts. At this point, the court and prosecutor will either grant the petition or make an objection to it. If an objection is made, we will make the case for you in court that the petition should be granted. Once the expungement has gone through, the expunged arrests, convictions, and other disposition will not appear in state criminal background, and a request can also be made to the FBI for them to remove expunged offenses from your criminal history report, a request which is usually granted. While the information will no longer be reported out to private background check companies, it may still show up on these reports if the companies have not updated their information.
Not all criminal convictions are eligible to be expunged from a Maryland criminal record. Convictions for the most serious types of violent felonies like murder and aggravated assault, for example, cannot be expunged. Expungable convictions include certain nuisance crimes under Criminal Procedure § 10-105(a)(9), possession of marijuana under Criminal Law Article § 5-601, and specified crimes under Criminal Procedure § 10-110. The latter is the main compilation for expungable crimes in the state, and where new crimes were added under a 2018 reform law.
However, if you were arrested without charges being filed, your charges were dismissed, or a stet or nolle prosequi was entered, the disposition will be eligible for expungement no matter the underlying crime. The same goes for arrests that do not lead to charges, which are supposed to be automatically expunged from your record within 60 days after your release If you are uncertain whether or not your offense is eligible, contact a skilled Maryland expungement like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice who can advise you.
For acquittals, judgements of nolle prosequi, stets, and charges that get dismissed, you can typically file the petition for expungement of the records 3 years after the disposition of your case. However, in some instances, if you file a General Waiver and Release of all legal claims and lawsuits arising from the charge, the court may permit you to expunge these dispositions earlier. This is not always a wise move and should never be done without first consulting with an experienced Maryland expungement attorney like those on the team at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. If you were arrested but not charged, Maryland law requires your arrest to be automatically expunged within 60 days of your release from custody, and if this is not done, reach out to one of our lawyers who can follow up and make sure it occurs as per the law.
For petitions based on a probation before judgment, you may file 3 or more years after probation granted or discharged, whichever is later. If your petition is based on an eligible conviction under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, if it is a misdemeanor, you can file 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, including parole, probation, or mandatory supervision. 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, you will also have to wait 15 years from the date you completed your sentence.
Long after you have completed your sentence and paid your dues to the system, you will continue to face the collateral consequences that come with having a criminal record that can be viewed by employers and others under certain conditions. However, for many crimes in the Maryland, there is a clear solution—expungement. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our skilled Maryland expungement attorneys can help determine if you are eligible for an expungement and, if so, will work to get the paperwork filed and make the process as simple as possible for you. Call our office today at (410) 826-5656 for a free consultation.