Many people with Maryland criminal records have experienced the negative consequences that come along with this, including an inability to find gainful employment, receive financial aid or assistance, or become professionally licensed. These folks are often unaware that their arrest, conviction, or other disposition can potentially be expunged from their record, in which case it is removed from the state system and no longer can be seen by most people who conduct a criminal background check on you. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our knowledgeable Maryland expungement attorneys have years of experience working with clients to successfully determine whether they are eligible to have their records expunged, and, if they are, assisting them in filing a petition with the court to do so. Below, our lawyers explore which crimes are eligible for expungement, whether there is a time limit regarding when an expungement petition can be filed, and how we can help you at every stage of the process.
Generally speaking, there is no statue of limitations on expunging an eligible offense in the state of Maryland. If you were convicted of an expungable crime 30, 40, or more years ago, and you want to get that crime expunged today, there is nothing preventing you from doing so, although accessing records that old can sometimes be difficult because of the transition from paper to electronic. Furthermore, according to literature provided by the Maryland courts, there could be limits on expungements from arrests before 2007 that did not lead to convictions. You may have to talk to the agency who arrested you directly to get the record expunged. In such a situation it is best to speak directly to a knowledgeable Maryland expungement attorney like those on the team at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice.
However, although there is no limit on when a crime can be expunged once it becomes eligible, most offenses have waiting periods where you must stay out of further trouble with the law before filing an expungement petition. The major exception is arrests not leading to convictions after 2007, which are now automatically expunged within 60 days of your release from custody. For acquittals, judgements of nolle prosequi, stets, and charges that get dismissed, you can typically file the petition for expungement of the records 3 years after the disposition of your case, although in certain cases you can do this sooner if you file a General Waiver and Release of all legal claims and lawsuits arising from the charge. For most eligible misdemeanor convictions, the waiting period is 15 years after your sentence is complete, and for most eligible felony convictions, it is 10 years after the completion of your sentence. However, there are some exceptions to these general rules, and we can only give you a certain answer on your whether your waiting period has passed after we have taken a close look at your actual criminal record.
As noted above, all arrests that do not lead to a criminal conviction should be automatically expunged from your record within 60 days after you are released from police custody. However, it is likely that the actual police records will still exist in their files. Our skilled expungement lawyers can work to have those records completely expunged by contacting the arresting agency and ensuring they do not ever show up on an errant background check. If your charges are dismissed, you received a judgment of nolle prosequi or a stet, or you were acquitted, you are eligible for the expungement for any and all crimes so long as the 3-year waiting period has passed. Similarly, anyone who receive probation before judgment, unless it was for DUI or DWI, is eligible for an expungement after the waiting period, which is 3 or more years after probation granted or discharged, whichever is later. Eligible misdemeanor and felony convictions can be found mainly under Criminal Procedure § 10-110, although there are some other places in the code where offenses are listed as separately eligible for expungement.
Once our lawyers have requested your criminal record and determine which of your offenses are eligible for expungement, we will get to work filing the necessary petitions with the court. We will need to file a separate petition for each offense. In order to make it as easy as possible on you, the veteran Maryland expungement lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice prepare the petition and return it for your signature and review, and then file it with the correct court. If the prosecutor or the court objects to the petition, we will work to overcome the objections and will argue on your behalf at a hearing if necessary.
Once your petition has been granted, the expunged offense will be removed from your state criminal record and all state databases, so that it will not show up on state criminal background checks going forward. The state can also send the information about the expungement to the FBI, which will usually result in the FBI removing it from their database as well. The incident should never appear on any official record after this, and you do not have to disclose the expunged offense to most potential employers. However, because some private background check companies rely on outdated records and information, it is possible that the offense will still show up on some private background checks, especially those run through less reputable companies.
While there is generally no statute of limitations on when an expungement may occur, there is usually a waiting period before you will be permitted to file a petition. As such, it is best to contact an experienced Maryland expungement attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, so that we can acquire an official copy of your criminal record and assess whether each arrest, conviction, and disposition is expungable. Then, we can help you prepare and file petitions with the court to get the eligible offenses expunged. Call us today at (410) 826-5656 for a free consultation.