If you are looking to have an old arrest or charge expunged from your record and are worried that you waited too long, you can put that concern to bed. There is no time limit to file a petition for expungement in Maryland. However, that does not mean there are no time restrictions. The Law Office of Randolph Rice is committed to helping people clear their records. Below, our Maryland expungement attorney reviews the various requirements and waiting periods that you must comply with to have your record expunged.
An expungement is a legal proceeding in which the petitioner seeks to erase the record of an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction. If successful, the record will no longer be available to the public through police records, court records, or the records kept by specific local and state agencies. In a legal sense, when your record is expunged, it is as if the incident never occurred.
While the expungement process might appear straightforward, Maryland’s law is complicated, and a petition must comply with many procedural rules and regulations. It is also important to note that not every record is eligible for expungement. Maryland law lists a comprehensive list of crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies that could be expunged.
You should have the assistance of our experienced Maryland expungement attorney to ensure your case is not denied because of a mistake or for missing an important deadline.
As stated above, there is no limit for when you could file a motion for expungement. However, there are prescribed waiting periods under Maryland law. While you might not have to worry about a deadline, you will be required to delay filing your petition until you are statutorily permitted to file.
The waiting period will depend on two factors, the charge and the disposition of your case.
If you were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor, your charge could be eligible for an expungement under Maryland law. Our Maryland expungement attorney will carefully review your charge to determine if you are able to proceed with the expungement process.
If a felony conviction is eligible for expungement, you will be required to wait fifteen years from the completion of your sentence to file your petition. Completing your sentence includes any probation that might have been required. It is also important to understand that you cannot be charged with another crime during this waiting period, or your expungement could be further delayed or denied.
If you were convicted of one of the specified misdemeanors eligible for expungement, you would be obligated to wait ten years before petitioning the court. However, if you were charged with a second-degree assault or domestic violence crime, then you will have to wait fifteen years. This period works the same as a felony conviction and does not begin until you have completed your sentencing requirements.
In Maryland, a judge has the discretion of giving a person probation before judgment (PBJ). This disposition allows the judge to have a finding of guilt, to strike the finding of guilt, and sentence a person without having to enter a conviction on the charge. Because there is no conviction, you are not forced to wait ten or fifteen years. The specified waiting period for a PBJ is three years from the disposition or from completing your probation, whichever date is later.
A stet is an indefinite suspension of your case. The prosecutor would request the stay of proceedings, and a judge would have to allow the postponement. If your trial is postponed in this manner, you would have to wait three years from the date the stet was entered to file for an expungement. If you want to try to expunge your record in less than three years, our Maryland expungement attorney could file a motion to show good cause to grant the expungement.
Nolle prosequi is a formal motion by the prosecutor stating that they will not be moving forward with the case. If this occurs, the charges against you are basically dropped. Unfortunately, an expungement does not automatically happen in this case. Unless you file a General Waiver, you must wait three years to file an expungement petition. A General Waiver releases the arresting authority from all liability – you are stating you will not be suing the police department for your arrest.
If your case goes to trial and you are either acquitted or if there is a finding of not guilty, you are eligible to immediately file an expungement if you also file a General Waiver. If you do not file the waiver, you must wait three years to file your motion.
If you were arrested and detained but not charged for a crime, the arrest should be automatically expunged after sixty days.
If you want your motion for expungement to be successful, it is crucial to understand the nuanced law and the required waiting periods. Our experienced Maryland expungement attorneys are committed to providing individuals who want to clear their record with professional and confidential representation.
While there is no deadline for filing an expungement petition, there are extremely strict waiting periods that govern when you are permitted to file with the court. If you are interested in clearing your record, contact our Maryland expungement attorney to review your case. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.