Criminal Law: Expunging Criminal Records in Maryland

How to Qualify for Expungement of Criminal Records

Sometimes, the past comes back to haunt people.  It can be both extremely frustrating and discouraging when public records become an obstacle to employment, finance, and other opportunities.

Expunging criminal records in Maryland is an opportunity to remove past arrest and conviction records.

Arrest and conviction records are available to the public and are often seen as a black mark by employers, educational institutions and insurance companies.  A criminal history carries a stigma regardless of the extraneous circumstances that may surround it. There is typically an electronic criminal “paper trail” even for those acquitted.  It can affect the ability to get certain jobs, volunteer, adopt a child or even apply for a loan.

Expungement is one solution that effectively erases a criminal history.  However, not all criminal records are eligible for expungement.  

Under Maryland law, a person can ask for expungement if their charge was dismissed or they were acquitted, or if their case was placed on the “stet” docket, or they received the benefit of Probation Before Judgment (PBJ).  Records relating to arrests that did not result in the filing of a charge are automatically expunged.  Online resources such as the Maryland Judiciary andPeople’s Law Library of Maryland have detailed information regarding the Maryland criteria for expungement.  

In some cases, there is a three year waiting period between the time a case was adjudicated until the person seeking expungement can file a petition with the police, court system or MVA.  The process of expunging a criminal record in Maryland may require the assistance of an attorney to ensure these petitions make it to the right government agency.  Taking the necessary steps to expunge a criminal record can be well worth the effort for those who qualify.  

For more information regarding expunging criminal records in Maryland, please contact Chris Wheatcroft at Alperstein & Diener.