Expungement is the legal process in Maryland that enables individuals with qualifying criminal records to remove those records from public access. Those records include:
- Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) files;
- Police Files; and
- Court Files.
Motor Vehicle Administration and police files (when no charges were filed) cannot be expunged through the Maryland Court System. Qualifying MVA records need to be expunged through the MVA. Similarly, if you want to expunge police records for an incident in which you were detained by police but not charge with a crime, you will need to contact the police agency that detained you and request an Investigative Release Form. Depending on when you were detained by police, there may be a time limit to request police records to be expunged.
To expunge court and police files in cases in which you were arrested and charged with a crime, you have to first determine if your records are eligible for expungement. You may file for expungement if you were arrested and charged with a crime, but not convicted. This means you may file for expungement if:
- You were found not guilty;
- The charge was dismissed;
- A stet was entered;
- A nolle prosequi (“nol pros”) was entered; OR
- The charge resulted in Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) – except for Driving While Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired.
Additional requirements are that:
- You were not charged with any ineligible offenses arising out of the same incident, transaction or set of facts. Also referred to as the same “unit”;
- You have not been subsequently convicted of another crime (excluding minor traffic offenses); and
- You do not have any criminal charges pending.
Additionally, your criminal record may be eligible for expungement if you were convicted of only one non-violent crime and have received a full Governor pardon or you were convicted of certain nuisance crimes.
An expedited expungement process may be available if you also sign a General Waiver and Release forgoing a lawsuit against all persons and agencies from any claims regarding the arrest or detention.
Needless to say, expunging criminal records can greatly enhance your ability to find employment and survive certain background checks. At TBH&E, we are experienced at guiding clients through this process – a process that can be an important step in a better life for you and your family.
About the Author
Justin Esworthy is a founding partner of Timmerman Beaulieu Hinkle & Esworthy, LLC. Justin’s practice focuses on criminal defense, traffic defense, and complex civil litigation. He also advises individuals and businesses of all sizes on general business and risk management issues. He can be contacted by phone at (410) 649-4440 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.