Maryland Criminal Defense Expungement Services
Get a clean slate by wiping your Maryland record of old mistakes with help from JC Law.
What Does It Mean To “Expunge” A Maryland Criminal Conviction Or Court Record?
“Expungement” is when Maryland courts remove legal-based records from public review or search. This process can eliminate those records from basic state-based background checks – helping former convicts get jobs and avoid discrimination during their reintegration into society.
In Maryland, criminal and case records can be expunged from:
You need to request for a specific file to be expunged for each Maryland agency. There’s no one centralized form or system to get all three done at once.
Are Records Automatically Expunged In Maryland?
Some records are automatically expunged from Maryland agency databases, though it depends on the circumstances.
Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Registration Expungement
As it happens, many public driving records are expunged automatically, depending on the charges, whether you were convicted, and how long it’s been.
Your legal representation can always contact the MVA to see if your particular vehicle offense is still publicly available, or if it’s been automatically removed from public view.
Maryland Police File Expungement
Certain police files are automatically expunged. Specifically, if you were detained after October 1, 2007, but released without charges, the record automatically goes away within 60 days after your release.
However, if you were detained and released before October 2007 – or actually charged with a crime at any time – you will have to personally request for the charge to be expunged.
Maryland Court Record Expungement
No court records are automatically expunged. You need to review your case history and see if it meets the qualifications for expungement.
The finicky, detail-oriented procedure is one of the reasons people hire criminal defense firms to get the records expunged for them.
What Cases Are Eligible For Expungement From Maryland Databases?
Only some records can be expunged from court records. You can ask the court to expunge your case records if:
- You weren’t found guilty.
- You were found guilty or “not criminally responsible” for certain crimes, misdemeanors, and felonies (which your criminal defense counsel can double-check for you).
- The charge against you was dismissed.
- The crime you were convicted of was no longer a crime, such as certain state marijuana laws.
- You received probation before judgement, except in certain driving violations.
- The Maryland state prosecutor decided not to pursue the charges, also known as “nolle prosequi.”
- The court indefinitely postponed your case, also known as “stet.”
- You were pardoned by Maryland’s governor.
- Your conviction was for possession of marijuana in certain situations.
As you can see, there are numerous scenarios in which a former convicted individual can request their records to be expunged, with many exceptions and possibilities at play.
A criminal defense lawyer is best equipped to make your court record expungement case, considering the many nuances and details involved.
When Can I File For Maryland Record Expungement? Is There A Time Limit Or A Waiting Period?
Most expungement petitions can only be filed years after the cases were finalized before a court will consider expunging the record:
- If you got acquitted or had your case dismissed, then you can usually file within three years of the charges.
- For convictions of lesser crimes, defendants can generally file for expungement at least three years out from the end of the trial or case.
- For certain misdemeanor and felony convictions, you may not be able to petition for expungement until 10 or 15 years after your sentence is complete – if ever.
- If a guilty finding was entered, you cannot get the record expunged except for certain “nuisance” crimes, marijuana possession, and some other specific convictions.
Again, only your expungement lawyer will be able to tell you when your case is eligible for expungement in Maryland – if at all.
How Long Does Expungement From Maryland Records Take?
It takes at least 90 days for Maryland records to be expunged, so don’t wait until you’re applying for a job you really want to request the expungement.
When you file the petition, the Maryland state attorney or other Maryland law enforcement agencies have 30 days to object to your requested expungement. If that happens, a court hearing will be scheduled for both sides to make their case.
(Be prepared for much longer than 90 days in this circumstance.)
If no one objects and the court approves of your expungement petition, then after 30 days, the court orders all relevant agency records to be expunged regarding your charges. You’ll get notified that the petition was granted.
It will also take 30 days from the date your petition was filed for you to be notified of a denial – which can happen! At that point, you’ll need to begin again, based on consultation with your expungement lawyer.
From the time of the court’s decree, each agency has 60 days to expunge the records. You’ll get a “Certificate of Compliance” from each agency to let you know that they did, in fact, expunge the records.
Do not consider the records expunged until you receive that Certificate of Compliance, even if you have the court decree declaring them expunged.
Unlike many other government services, for which you can pay a premium for expedited receipt of documents or filings, there is no expedited process for records expungement.
You’re looking at 90 days if everything goes well for your records to be removed from the requested agency public files.
Is Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer Required To File An Expungement Petition?
No, it’s not required to hire a criminal lawyer to file for record expungement in Maryland.
However, the chances of your petition being convincing enough to be granted – and of your petition even being legally valid in the first place, what with all the exceptions – increases dramatically if you hire a criminal defense lawyer with experience in expungements.
You’ll especially want legal representation if the law enforcement or Maryland state attorney’s office protests your expungement petition. Protests mean a hearing before a judge to make your case – and no one does that better than a criminal litigation lawyer.
Before hiring a lawyer for expungement, you can always request a free initial consultation to offer an outline of your proposed expungement to see if you might qualify for one.
If you don’t qualify, you haven’t wasted any money; if you do, they can give you an idea of how much it might cost to wipe your record clean from public view.
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