Expungement is the process of asking the court to remove certain court and police records from public view. It mostly applies to records that did not result in a conviction, but several types of convictions can be expunged.
Recent changes in the law have expanded the number of crimes that can be expunged. Described as “the broadest criminal justice legislation in decades,” sentencing guidelines for drug dealers, thieves and other offenders have been reduced while the crimes that can be wiped from an offender’s record have been increased from nine to about 50, including misdemeanors related to theft and drug possession. A Baltimore or Ocean City expungement attorney can provide more details.
The change was made to make it easier for former offenders to qualify for jobs, housing and education. Many organizations and businesses require background checks for applicants.
A record of criminal charges can hamper employment as seen by the lawsuits against Amazon, Target and others, as well as applications to schools and colleges and more. Recent lawsuits by workers fired after employer background checks, that in some instances revealed charges that were many years old or inaccurate, show how important it is to get criminal records expunged. In one instance, a group of Amazon drivers sued the e-commerce giant because they were fired when a strict background check discovered criminal charges that, some say, are minor and 10 years old.
In addition, with the recent decriminalizing of marijuana in Maryland, some drug charges are no longer crimes. If you were found guilty of a crime that is no longer a crime, you can get your Baltimore criminal record expunged. Past convictions for possession of marijuana can be expunged, but the amount involved must be less than 10 grams. If the conviction was for more than 10 grams of marijuana, you may request an expungement four years after satisfactory completion of the sentence.
Generally, you must wait three years after your case was decided before you can file for expungement, but the rules vary based on the results of your case.
If you were acquitted, received a nolle prosequi, or a dismissal of the charges, you may file earlier if you also file a general release and waiver of any and all people against whom you may have a legal claim as a result of your arrest.
If you received a probation before judgment, you may not file for expungement until your probationary period has been completed or three years have passed, whichever is longer.
If your case was placed on the stet docket, you may file for expungement three years after the judgment.
To file for an expungement based on a finding of “not criminally responsible,” you must wait until three years have passed since the finding. If you were found guilty of one of the crimes that can be expunged, you must wait three years.
However, please note that if a private database has information about your public record, expungement will not remove it from that database.
The Law Office of Thomas J. Maronick is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh expungement of criminal record needs. A Glen Burnie expungement attorney can help you in removing Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City and Towson court and police records from public view. The consultation is free.