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Clearing Your Record Through the Expungement Process

4 min read
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Clearing your record through the expungement process in Maryland removes certain arrests and convictions from public databases. Maryland expungement law has many nuances and exceptions so it is best to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Generally, cases that are acquitted or dismissed or have a nolle prosequi disposition can be expunged. However, the process can be a bit finicky and requires careful attention to detail.

Benefits of Expungement

Expungement allows people to clear criminal records that have hurt their ability to get jobs or housing. It also removes records from public view.

Those with criminal records face many obstacles, including the inability to pass background checks. This limits the types of employment they can take and their access to housing.

Expungement removes these records from Case Search and makes them unobtainable to the public, thus making it easier to move forward with a clean record. Expungement helps people gain employment and lead stable lives, which benefits the community. It also reduces recidivism and gives individuals the confidence that they can find future opportunities. Expungement can provide a sense of closure and allow people to put the past behind them. Our Maryland expungement attorneys can help you clear your record.

How to Expunge Your Record

In Maryland, expungement can be obtained on cases that resulted in a Not Guilty, Nolle Prosequi, dismissed or acquitted disposition. Individuals should be sure that the petition for expungement is completed correctly including their full name (including aliases), date of birth and current address. It is also helpful to request a background check before and after filing for expungement to ensure that the case information is not showing up in public databases.

A criminal record, even a dismissed charge can harm a person’s life in many ways including employment, housing, credit, loans, and obtaining a license. A knowledgeable expungement attorney could help an individual to clean up their records and get the record of their arrest or conviction sealed from public view. A lawyer may be able to pay court and filing fees on behalf of an individual if they cannot afford them.

Expungement Fees

A blot on your criminal record, even a dismissed charge, can damage your prospects in many ways. It can affect your chances of finding a job, getting a lease or mortgage, credit, loans, or a driver’s license. It can also impact child custody, immigration, or running for public office.

While states are working to make expungement processes easier, it still takes time and effort. The process involves gathering and preparing paperwork, filing with the court and prosecutor, and sometimes paying a fee. Often, if the state’s attorney or law enforcement object to the petition, it requires a hearing before a judge to make your case. A skilled Maryland expungement lawyer can help you get the process started. They can explain your eligibility for expungement, and help you understand what is required to complete the process successfully.

Expungement Timeline

Expungement can take up to 120 days to complete, depending on the case and circumstances. Once your record is expunged you will no longer be able to see the case on Maryland’s public Case Search or in private databases.

Whether you have a misdemeanor or felony criminal conviction in your past, it can still impact your life for years to come. It may affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, or even see your children.

Expungement is a way to wipe these records from state-based searches and reviews, but it is important to work hand-in-hand with an experienced expungement attorney. The process is complicated and prone to errors, especially when you are filing with the clerk’s office or if the state’s attorney’s office protests your petition.

Expungement Eligibility

The state’s expungement requirements vary greatly by offense and disposition. Generally, charges that result in Nolle Pros, Dismissal, or Stet are eligible for expungement and cases entered with an Alford Plea can be cleared once the terms of probation (or the sentence) have been satisfied. Certain types of felony convictions are not eligible for expungement and some misdemeanor convictions are ineligible as well.

Expungement can also remove records from the Motor Vehicle Administration, Police Department, and Court files. However, each agency has a separate filing process and the time period to clear these records is different.

A Maryland expungement lawyer could help you determine if you are eligible, file your petition and make the case for expungement during any necessary appeals. An attorney would also be able to assist you with any issues related to disclosure, security clearances, and the effect on immigration or naturalization proceedings.