Because of the seriousness associated with most felonies, especially violent crimes, these crimes will usually stay on your criminal record for life. However, this does not necessarily mean that every felony will appear on a background check indefinitely. There are both federal and Maryland laws that limit how long certain charges will appear on a background check. Because the answer varies depending on your circumstances, our Maryland expungement attorney from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice discusses background checks, felonies, and expungements below.
Felonies are typically serious crimes, and they are often violent in nature, such as murder and armed robbery. In Maryland, a felony conviction does not come lightly. There is typically a lengthy legal process requiring an arraignment, pre-trial conferences, and a series of pre-trial hearings before your actual trial.
A felony will stay on your record permanently. Because of this, a felony will continue to impact your life well after your initial conviction or the completion of your sentence. A felony record could limit your opportunities for employment, apartment rentals, and personal loans. When someone runs a background check on you, they will be able to see if you were ever convicted of a felony. You need to talk with our Maryland expungement attorney to discuss your legal options if you have a felony on your record.
While felonies stay on your permanent record for life, there are some restrictions on how long they appear on background checks in Maryland. These limitations are governed by both federal and Maryland law. The good thing for Maryland residents is that it is one of the few states that impose a time restriction on listing felonies on a background check.
A background check could report convictions and non-convictions for the previous seven years. This means that an individual who might not have been convicted of a felony could still have the incident appear on their background check.
Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), felony arrests are permitted to be reported on background checks for up to seven years. Furthermore, felony convictions could be reported for as much time as the employer wishes to investigate, meaning that if the company only looks back four years, they will not see older convictions.
As stated, Marylanders are afforded additional protections regarding felonies on background checks. Under Md. Code Ann., Com. Law § 14-203 (5), there is a prohibition against reporting obsolete information, including arrest records or convictions that are over seven years old from the date of release or disposition.
However, there is an important exception to this limitation. If you are applying for a job with an expected annual salary of $20,000 or more, the prohibition does not apply. This seven-year restriction often proves detrimental when trying to find gainful employment in Maryland. If you have a felony on your record, contact our Maryland expungement lawyer.
The only real way to remove a felony from your permanent record and background check is to have it expunged. When a felony is expunged from your record, legally, it is like it never occurred. Maryland employers are prohibited by law to ask if a potential employee had anything expunged from their record.
In Maryland, the final disposition of your criminal charges will determine whether you are entitled to have the charge expunged. If a judge issues an Order of Expungement, then all records of your criminal case must be removed from the court records, law enforcement records, and the records of all other relevant agencies.
There are restrictions and limitations on what criminal charges could be expunged. Under Maryland law, a felony could only be expunged if your case was dismissed, a jury or judge found you not guilty, you accepted a plea bargain, or your case was indefinitely postponed. In some rare circumstances, your felony could be expunged if you received a pardon from the governor.
You are not eligible for expungement in Maryland if you are a defendant in a current criminal case or have received probation before judgment but have a previous conviction that stems from anything other than a minor traffic offense.
The time you are eligible to file a motion for expungement is based on the disposition of your case. The timeline will differ depending on whether your petition is based on an acquittal, a plea agreement, or a dismissal, or whether the prosecution dropped your case. For petitions based on a guilty verdict, you are eligible to file a petition ten to fifteen years after the conviction. Our Maryland criminal defense attorney will work directly with you to determine what the waiting period is for your particular felony case.
Expungement can be a powerful tool in moving your life forward. This is especially true when trying to eliminate troubling felonies on your background checks. It is critical to understand the process and have an experienced Maryland expungement attorney represent your interests.
Having a felony on your record and background check will continually limit your employment, housing, and financing opportunities. Even though the felony will not generally be reported on your background checks after seven years, it could still hurt your ability to obtain gainful employment. Expunging a felony from your record frees you from the many connected restrictions and hurdles. Our Maryland expungement lawyers are available to help you clear your record and move forward with your life. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.