Many people make mistakes in their lives and end up arrested and facing criminal charges, particularly misdemeanors, which is the term for lesser criminal charges under Maryland law. For example, simple assault is a misdemeanor, while aggravated assault is a felony, the word for the more serious type of crime. Just because misdemeanors are considered less serious under the law, however, does not mean that a past arrest, conviction, or other disposition of a misdemeanor charge cannot haunt you into the future by showing up on background checks run by potential employers and others. By getting these crimes expunged from your record through the process available in Maryland, you can prevent them from coming up on almost all background checks. Below, our skilled Maryland expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice explain when and how misdemeanors can be expunged from your criminal record, how many can be expunged, and how we can help.
Whether or not you can get a misdemeanor expunged from your criminal record in Maryland will depend on the specific misdemeanor, how long ago it occurred, and what the ultimate disposition of the charge was. For any misdemeanor arrests that did not ultimately lead to charges, the arrest is supposed to be automatically expunged from your record 60 days after your release from custody. If this does not occur, you should contact one of our experienced Maryland expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice so that we can follow up with the authorities and make sure the matter is expunged as per Maryland law.
For misdemeanors that resulted in acquittals, judgements of nolle prosequi, stets, or were dismissed after charges were filed, you can typically file the petition for expungement of the records 3 years after the disposition of your case. If you file a General Waiver and Release of all legal claims and lawsuits arising from the charge, you can sometimes apply sooner in these scenarios, but this is often not a good idea to do this and you should never make a decision to file such a waiver without first consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice. If your misdemeanor case resulted in a probation before judgment, you may file 3 years after such probation was granted or discharged, whichever is later.
Many, but certainly not all, misdemeanor convictions are also eligible for expungement. Most eligible misdemeanor convictions are listed under Criminal Procedure § 10-110. This section permits filing for an expungement based on a misdemeanor conviction 10 years after you completed your sentence, including parole, probation, or mandatory supervision. For misdemeanor convictions eligible for expungement under other sections like Criminal Law Article § 3-203, the common law battery statute, or a domestically related crime under Criminal Procedure Article § 6-233, you will be required to wait 15 years from the completion of your sentence before you become eligible to apply for an expungement.
So long as they are all eligible and the waiting period is passed, there is no limit on the number of misdemeanor arrests, convictions, and other dispositions that you can get expunged in the state of Maryland. However, it is not a smart idea to rely on your memory, as you may misremember exactly what crime you were convicted of or when the conviction occurred. Furthermore, the application process can be complex and time-consuming, especially when you have multiple misdemeanors that you are looking to get expunged, because you must file a separate petition for each crime, rather than one for all of them. As such, it is always best to reach out to a skilled Maryland expungement attorney like those at our firm who can guide you through the process and make it as easy as possible for you.
The first thing we will do is help you request an official copy of your state criminal record so we can see an accurate record of all your run-ins with the law and make a determination about which dispositions, if any, are expungement-eligible. Once we have determined which crimes are eligible for expungement, we will prepare the petition or petitions and send them you for your signature and approval. Once you return them to us, we can submit them to the proper courts, notify anyone who is required to be notified that the petition has been made, and deal with any objections from the court or prosecutor that may arise.
If the petition for your expungement is granted, the conviction, arrest, or other disposition related to that charge will no longer show up on a state background check. It will only be accessible in certain, very-limited situations like if you apply to the military or for a high-level security clearance. The state agency can also inform the FBI that the expungement has occurred and request that the matter be removed from their database as well so that it will not show up on federal background checks either. It should also be removed from any private background check databases, though these are less reliable and can sometimes be outdated. Once the expungement goes through, you no longer have to disclose the incident or answer yes to any questions regarding criminal convictions, unless you have other convictions that have not been expunged.
Having one conviction on your criminal record can hurt your prospects for employment, let alone multiple. However, in many cases you may be eligible to have misdemeanor arrests, convictions, or other dispositions removed from your record. To get the process started, reach out to a skilled Maryland expungement attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice who can assess whether you are eligible and go from there. Call today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.