Many people make mistakes but do not want a criminal record following them around for life. A criminal record could negatively impact your ability to find employment, rent an apartment, or obtain a loan. Fortunately, under Maryland law, many charges, arrests, and convictions might be eliminated through a legal process known as expungement. Our Maryland expungement attorney from the Law Offices of Randolph Rice takes a closer look at the requirements for expungement in Maryland.
Expungement is the legal process of eliminating a criminal record, including arrests and convictions, from the public record. In Maryland, an individual can have their records expunged from police files, court files, and Motor Vehicle Administration files. Despite what many believe, expungement is not universally available.
Many different agencies have specific requirements to ensure your records are properly removed. Additionally, expungement only affects official records. If your charge or conviction was listed in a local or national newspaper, it could still appear in an archive or on a social media post. You should speak with our experienced Maryland expungement attorney to understand the full scope and effect of expungement.
Some specific agencies have particular processes to ensure an expunged record is eliminated. For example, the Motor Vehicle Administration will expunge some records automatically after three years. However, certain types of offenses and other convictions could inhibit this process. Other administrations and agencies have their own rules, too.
If you were arrested and detained by the police, but no official charges were filed, your record should be automatically expunged within 60 days of your release. However, the physical records could still exist in the police department’s files. To ensure your records are expunged, you should have our Maryland expungement attorney contact the specific police department to determine what forms are necessary to have your record cleared. If you were arrested and charged, your record would not be automatically expunged.
The expungement process might seem straightforward. However, Maryland’s expungement law is complicated. When you file a petition, you must comply with many procedural rules and regulations.
It is also essential to understand that not every record can be expunged. Maryland has a comprehensive statutory list of expungable misdemeanors and felonies. Our experienced Maryland expungement attorney will assist you in determining whether your charge is on that list of eligible charges, and we will help you comply with all deadlines and regulatory requirements.
Before you are permitted to petition the court for expungement in Maryland, you are required to adhere to a strict waiting period. The waiting period is prescribed by law and depends on the disposition of your case and what charges you faced.
Some felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for expungement under Maryland law. The mandatory waiting period for an eligible felony conviction is fifteen years from when you complete your sentence, including probation or parole. If you are charged with another crime during this waiting period, your expungement will be delayed or denied.
If you were convicted of a listed misdemeanor, the waiting period is typically ten years. If your crime was a domestic violence charge or a second-degree assault, the required waiting period is fifteen years. Just like a felony conviction, the waiting period begins once your sentence is completed.
In some situations, a judge could grant a person probation before judgment (PBJ). This disposition comes at the discretion of the judge and allows a charged individual to be sentenced without a conviction being entered on their record. The importance of this is that it significantly lowers the required waiting period. For PBJ, you can petition the court after three years from the disposition or the completion of your probation, whichever is later. If your charge was for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, you are not eligible for expungement, even if you were granted PBJ
In some cases, a prosecutor will suspend the prosecution of your charges. When your case is suspended indefinitely, you are permitted to file for expungement within three years of the suspension. In some instances, our Maryland expungement attorney could ask the court to reduce this period.
If there isn’t enough evidence to move forward with the charges, a Maryland prosecutor might drop your charges entirely. Unfortunately, dropped charges are not automatically expunged. You usually have to wait three years to file a motion for expungement. However, if you file a “General Waiver” releasing the police from liability, you are permitted to file a petition without having to wait.
In cases where you are acquitted or there is a finding of not guilty at trial, you are immediately eligible for expungement. However, you still must file General Waiver or else you have to wait three years before petitioning the court.
There are certain cases where you are not permitted to expunge your record. In addition to charges that are not listed in the expungement statute, you are also not allowed to expunge a record if you received PBJ and were convicted of a crime in the three years after the PBJ was granted.
No matter what charges you faced, if you have a current criminal case against you, you will not be allowed to expunge your record. Additionally, PBJ for a DUI, DWI, or death caused by DUI or DWI is not expungable.
The expungement process might be something you believe you can handle on your own. However, Maryland law is complicated, and you should have our Maryland expungement attorney work with you. Our office has the experience and resources to ensure you comply with every rule and regulation. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 826-5656 to schedule a free appointment and review record expungement in Maryland.