In Maryland, many past arrests, convictions, and other dispositions of criminal charges are eligible for what is known as the expungement process. Through this process, those with criminal records can file a petition with the court to have eligible offenses removed from their record so that they generally do not show up on criminal background checks like the one you will face before starting many types of employment. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our skilled Maryland expungement attorneys have years of experience working with clients to acquire their complete and accurate criminal record, assess which offenses are eligible for expungement, and prepare and file the necessary petitions with the court on your behalf. Below, we explain how the expungement process generally works, including how long you must wait before you become eligible.
How long you will have to wait before you can file a petition for expungement will depend largely on what the disposition of your case was. For arrests that did not lead to charges, the law requires that they automatically expunged from your record within 60 days of your release from jail unless they occurred prior to 2007, in which case you would have been required to petition the court for expungement within 8 years of the arrest. However, there may be other ways to deal with getting these records expunged, such as contacting the local police station where the arrest occurred. Reach out to a knowledgeable Maryland expungement lawyer like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice for further analysis if you find yourself in this situation.
Most dispositions that do need lead to an arrest are eligible for an expungement 3 years after the disposition is entered. This includes judgments of nolle prosequi, stets, acquittals, and situations where the charges are dismissed. If you are granted probation before judgment, except in DUI and DWI cases, then the waiting period is 3 years after probation granted or discharged, whichever is later. For eligible felony convictions under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, the waiting period is 15 years from satisfaction of your sentence. For eligible misdemeanor under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, the waiting period is 10 years form the satisfaction of your sentence. If your offense is 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 is 15 years.
The first thing our experienced Maryland expungement attorneys will do is help you request a copy of your official criminal record from the state. This is important for a few reasons. First, sometimes people, especially those with extensive criminal records, may forget about some of their encounters with the police or what the outcome or disposition of all of their charges was. Second, not all convictions are eligible for expungement, so we will have to look closely at the exact charge to which you plead guilty or were convicted to understand for certain whether or not the offense you committed is expungable.
Once we have an accurate read on your Maryland criminal history and whether each of your eligible offenses is past the waiting period, we can prepare the petition or petitions on your behalf. Unfortunately, you cannot file a single petition for expungement of all eligible arrests, convictions, and other dispositions, but rather must file an individual petition for each offense. As such, the process of writing up each petition and directing them to the proper courts can be time-consuming and complex, especially if you have many eligible offenses. The seasoned Maryland expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice can do all the work for you and submit the prepared petitions to you for your signature and approval. Once you return them to us, we will file them with the courts and deal with any unexpected objections that may arise from the prosecutor or court, including representing you at a court hearing on the matter if necessary.
Once the petition for expungement has been granted, the expunged offense will be removed from your state criminal history and any other state databases. It will not show up on state background checks and will not have to be disclosed to employers, except under limited circumstances, such as when applying to be a police officer or for the military. The state can also inform the FBI of the expungement so that they can remove it from their national database. While the FBI is not required by law to remove expunged offenses from their record so they will not show up on a federal background check, they will usually do so upon request from the proper agency. Finally, if private background check companies conduct a search of current state records, the offense will not appear. However, some private background check companies use outdated sources of information and expunged offenses may still appear on these checks.
Unless you were arrested but charges were not filed, there will usually be a waiting period in Maryland to get your record expunged. The waiting period will vary depending on whether it was a conviction or some other disposition and whether the eligible crime was a misdemeanor or a felony, among other factors. In order to figure out if you are eligible and have waited out the period proscribed by law, contact out knowledgeable Maryland expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice right away. We can begin the process by acquiring a copy of your official Maryland criminal record and assessing which of your past incidents are eligible to be expunged. Then, we can work to help you file the petitions in such a way as to make the process as easy as possible for you. For a free consultation, call us at (410) 694-7291 today.