If you were convicted of a felony, it would remain on your record for life. This means your criminal record will be permanently blemished. A felony will impact your ability to find employment, qualify for a loan, and rent an apartment. It will appear on background and credit checks, available for the public to see. Expungement is a legal way to mitigate the impact of a felony. However, this option is not available in every case and is complicated. Our Maryland criminal record expungement attorney at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice takes a closer look at felonies and your permanent record.
As stated, a felony will stay on your record for life. Therefore, if you are convicted of a felony, complete your sentence, and are a model citizen, you will still feel the negative impact of a criminal record. One of the major problems a person with a felony record will face is limited job opportunities. Furthermore, a person with a criminal record will find it much more challenging to qualify for a personal loan or rent an apartment.
How many years does a felony show on a background check in Maryland? When you apply for a job, apply for a loan, or rent an apartment, you will likely have to undergo a background check. In Maryland, if you apply for a job that pays less than $20,000, the felony will only appear on your background check for seven years. However, this limitation does not apply to jobs that pay more, severely limiting your employment choices. If you are feeling the economic and emotional strain of a felony record, contact our Maryland expungement attorney to review your legal options.
Not every felony charge, arrest, or conviction is eligible for expungement in Maryland. The Maryland Code provides a comprehensive list of the charges that you could expunge. The first step towards clearing your record is talking with our Maryland expungement attorney to determine if you are statutorily permitted to proceed with your case. While you might consider filing on your own, Maryland’s expungement laws are complicated, and any procedural error or missed deadline could derail an already lengthy process.
Even if your particular charge is eligible for expungement, there are still several legal hurdles to overcome. The disposition of your case will influence what steps you must follow. Expungement is a complicated process, so it is critical to have the representation of an experienced Maryland expungement lawyer to help you sort through these rules.
In some cases, you might be arrested and detained but never charged with a felony. If this is the situation, your record should be automatically expunged within 60 days from your release. While your statewide record would be expunged, often the physical file will remain with the arresting authority. It is essential to have our office petition the relevant police precinct to clear the physical file, too to ensure that your arrest does not come back to haunt you.
Once you are charged, it becomes more challenging to expunge a felony. First, the felony charge must be eligible for expungement under Maryland law. If it is eligible, then the disposition of your case after charging will affect the steps required to expunge your record.
If you go to court and are acquitted or found not guilty, you can file for an immediate expungement if you file a General Waiver releasing the arresting authority from liability. If you do not file the waiver, you must wait three years to petition the court for expungement. This works the same way if your case was dismissed.
In situations where the prosecutor indefinitely postpones your case by filing a “stet,” you need to wait the three years.
It is possible to receive a sentence and avoid a guilty verdict. A Maryland judge has the discretion to offer probation before judgment (PBJ). With PBJ, a guilty verdict is not entered into the record, but you are still sentenced to a term of probation. After serving your probation, you are permitted to petition the court for expungement in three years after completing your sentence. Our experienced Maryland expungement attorney is prepared to represent you in any of these expungement cases.
If you went to trial for a felony charge and were found guilty, you might not be able to have the felony expunged from your permanent record. A guilty plea also makes it more challenging to clear your record. It is crucial to speak with our Maryland expungement attorney if you have pleaded guilty or were found guilty of a felony.
Fortunately, some felony charges are expungable under Maryland law. However, there is a catch. If your charge is statutorily eligible for expungement, there is a mandatory waiting period of fifteen years from the time you complete your sentence, including probation or parole.
In some rare situations, our office might be able to petition to convert your guilty verdict to PBJ. If successful, a conversion would significantly reduce the required waiting period to the three-year wait for PBJ expungements. It is also important to note that if you are convicted of another crime or have other pending criminal charges during the waiting period, you will not be permitted to expunge your felony.
Felony charges or a felony conviction will often be a weight on you for your entire life. However, these past legal issues should limit peoples’ lives and options because of past mistakes. Expungement is a powerful tool to move your life forward. This is especially true if you have a felony on your criminal record. It is crucial to have our experienced Maryland expungement attorney represent you. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.