Expungement in Maryland: What Is It and Can You Get One?
Having a criminal charge or conviction on your record can severely impact your chances of finding employment, passing certain background checks, and child custody rights, among other things. Expunging your record is simpler than ever, and the attorneys at Esworthy Law can assist you in the process.
What Is Expungement?
Expungement is a process that allows you to ask the court to remover specific court and police records from public access. This generally includes records that did not result in a conviction, but some convictions may be eligible for expungement. The time frame for applying and being granted an expungement varies depending on the type of case and whether there was a conviction.
What Is Included In Your Criminal Record?
Your criminal record includes information from the Maryland Judiciary Case Search, and your Record of Arrests and Prosecutions (RAP) sheet from the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). Some charges may not show up in case search, such as those where the disposition is acquitted, dismissed, nolle prosequi, or not guilty. Charges that do not appear in case search are still part of your criminal record.
Which Records Can Be Expunged, and Which Cannot Be Expunged?
Usually, the verdict or outcome of your case determines whether specific records can be expunged. It does not matter whether your case was a misdemeanor or a felony.
For most offenses, if you have been convicted (found guilty), the records about that charge cannot be expunged. There are exceptions.
Are There Situations When You Cannot File for Expungement?
Yes, there are certain cases where you generally cannot get records expunged.
- If you received a PBJ, and you were later convicted of a new crime within 3 years of the PBJ, you cannot get the PBJ case expunged. (However, if the new conviction was for a minor traffic violation or for an action that is now no longer a crime, the new conviction will not prevent you from getting the PBJ expunged.)
- You cannot file for expungement of any records if you currently have criminal proceedings pending against you.
- If you are convicted of a crime during the waiting period, you are not eligible for expungement unless the subsequent conviction becomes eligible for expungement.
- You cannot get a PBJ expunged if the PBJ was for certain alcohol related driving offenses. (Md. Code, Transportation § 21-902 or Md. Code, Criminal Law §§ 2-503, 2-504, 2-505, or 2-506, or former Article 27, § 388A or § 388B)
- A court has no authority to expunge aliases or grant an expungement in cases of identity theft.
The Unit Rule
If you were charged with more than one offense based on the same incident, transaction, or set of facts, you can only have records from that case expunged if ALL of the charges from that incident are eligible for expungement.
Why Is It Important to Expunge a Criminal Record?
Many organizations, businesses, and agencies require a background check for applicants. Having criminal charges on your record can hinder:
- applications to schools and colleges,
- housing, and
- other government services.
Can An Expungement Be Denied?
Yes, the court can deny your request for an expungement. If the Judge denies the petition at the hearing, you may file an appeal within 30 days of the denial.
Can I Expunge My Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) Driver Record?
The MVA automatically expunges eligible driving records. However, not all driving records can be expunged. Contact the MVA for more information regarding an administrative record expungement.
What Is the Difference Between an Expungement and Shielding Records?
Shielding is different from expungement. Shielding gives less protection than expungement, because it leaves your records accessible by certain people. However, several types of convictions can be shielded even though they cannot be expunged. These matters are civil proceedings are not covered under the expungement statute.
Did you have a criminal legal issue in the Maryland area? Esworthy Law can help.
Esworthy Law is a Maryland criminal/traffic defense firm with knowledge and experience handling expungement and shielding petitions. Justin Esworthy and Kristen Martin handle cases in several Maryland jurisdictions including Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, Cecil County and Queen Anne’s County. Contact Esworthy Law anytime at 443-354-1405 for a free consultation about your case.
Contact Esworthy Law Today
Dealing with legal issues yourself can risk money, time, and excessive penalites. Working with Esworthy Law gives you access to decades of successful legal experience and prompt, cost-effective service. Just give us a call at (443) 354-1405 or fill out the information below to get started.