Maryland Expungement Lawyer
Expungement is the legal process in which the record of a former crime or pending charge is sealed from public view or destroyed permanently. If you meet certain requirements, following a specific timeline and convincing the court that an expungement of your police record is in good order, you can rid yourself of a burdensome blemish that will show up on a legal background check. Talk to our Maryland expungement lawyers to find out more about how our brightest legal minds can help seal your mistakes and give you a chance at a clean record.
Examples of Crimes That Can Be Expunged
Expungement is meant to clear the legal record of an offender who has committed a non-violent crime. Since many of these crimes often involve alcohol or drug use, it is no surprise that rehabilitation or other treatment options are used in lieu of incarceration. To read more about what happens during the expungement process, continue to the sections below or contact one of our expert expungement lawyers in Maryland. If you have a case relating to DC, we also have DC expungement lawyer.
Below are examples of some common crimes for which people petition the Maryland courts in order to have a record expunged.
- Drinking in Public: In many areas of Maryland, you can charged if you are caught imbibing an alcoholic beverage of any kind (wine, beer, liquor, etc.) in a public place. For example, walking down the street drinking a beer in broad daylight could result in this charge. It’s also common to receive a drinking in public charge along with other crimes, such as driving while intoxicated (DUI), public urination or sleeping on or in park structures, or even vagrancy.
- Public Urination: This is often the result of drinking in public, and earning both charges simultaneously can compound your potential punishment. Still, whether your case is dropped or you get probation, this charge can be expunged from your record.
- Transportation Violations: These often occur while on public transit systems like trains or buses. You can do a number of things tantamount to a crime, such as: spitting, littering or smoking while on board, refusing to vacate a handicapped seat when requested to do so, carrying an animal or otherwise interfering with the operation of the vehicle. As long as these crimes do not lead to violence or other, more serious charges, you can have these violations expunged from your record.Though these crimes are generally seen as low-level crimes, they can still prevent you from finding adequate employment in the future. An expungement lawyer in Maryland can help you clear your record of these low-level crimes permanently, provided you meet the requirements and adhere to all stipulations.
Requirements That Must Be Met
Maryland State Code ┬º 10-101 details the various situations in which a record may be expunged. Some records can be expunged or partially expunged, but some not at all. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when attempting to determine if your record meets the expungement requirements:
- You can request an expungement if you have been arrested, detained or confined by law enforcement but have not been charged with a crime
- You have been convicted of a crime, but it falls under the “Nuisance Crimes” or “Transportation” sections
- You have been convicted of only one crime, and that crime is not a crime of violence
- If your record existed prior to July 1, 1975
- If you stand accused for a crime but the State does not pursue charges in the court, resulting in a nolle prosequi
- Your case is marked stet contingent on an alcohol or drug rehabilitation effort
- You are acquitted of a crime for which you have been charged
- You are pardoned by the Governor of Maryland.
Special note: If you are convicted of multiple charges (traffic violations notwithstanding), and are denied expungement or are ineligible for expungement on any one of those charges, you are also not eligible to receive expungement on the other charges you were charged with. It is important to note that this does not necessarily work in reverse; that is, if you are granted expungement for one charge, you aren’t automatically granted expungement for the rest.
Stipulations and Scope
While you may be eligible for expungement based on the above requirements, there are still some stipulations that govern when and how your record can be expunged. If your petition was based on probation before judgement, you must wait three years after probation was granted or discharged before filing for expungement petition. If you are convicted of a specific nuisance crime, you must also wait three years after the conviction or satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later. if you are found not guilty or the case was entered nolle prosequi, you may be eligible to file immediately. However, in all cases, if you are currently a defendant or have subsequently been convicted of a crime that carries possible incarceration, you will not be eligible.
Permanency of Expungement
For most intents and purposes, expungement is permanent. Whether your specific files (both physical copies and digital renditions) are completely destroyed or moved to a location where people are denied access, your records are not to be opened or reviewed unless by way of a court order. The courts can only order the opening your expunged record in one instance: without your record, a police investigation will be jeopardized or someone’s life or property will be endangered. However, if your record is opened in the future, copies will not be made and you cannot be charged with the same crime twice.
Effects on Future Employment
For most people, the purpose of a legal record expungement is to create a cleaner background check for future employment prospects. If you are interested in an expungement for this reason, there are some things you should know about your rights and what information you can withhold from applications and questions.
First, you don’t have to give information regarding your expunged charge if your charge didn’t result in a conviction or you have been pardoned by the Governor of Maryland. Second, if you refuse to give information about an expunged charge, it cannot be the sole reason an employer does not hire you, whether the employer is private or governmental in nature. Plus, a person who violates these two points is potentially liable to face fines and imprisonment of their own.
If you care about your professional future but are unsure how your past indiscretions may affect your ability to earn a living, talk to our Maryland expungement lawyers today and start moving forward with your life.