A new Maryland law shortening the waiting periods before certain criminal convictions can be expunged took effect on October 1. The new law expands opportunities for clearing a criminal record.
Known as the “REDEEM Act of 2023,” the bill was signed into law earlier this year. Supporters say the measure provides a better chance at redemption for those with past nonviolent offenses.
Under previous Maryland law, misdemeanor convictions could only be expunged 10 years after completion of a sentence. Felonies required a 15-year waiting period. The REDEEM Act slashes these timespans.
Starting October 1st, nonviolent misdemeanors can typically be expunged after 5 years and nonviolent felonies after 7 years. Some felonies will be eligible to be expunged after seven years, while first-and-second-degree burglary and felony theft will be eligible after 10 years.
Marijuana possession expungements can be pursued immediately after completing a sentence, with court costs waived. This builds on Maryland’s cannabis legalization that took effect July 1st.
Early expungements may be granted in certain instances. For example, if you are experiencing discrimination in obtaining employment, housing or getting into a college or trade school to further your education. You will have to provide proof of the bias.
Critics argue shortening waiting periods undeservedly wipes away consequences for unlawful actions.
The expedited expungements come amidst Maryland’s tight labor market where employers are desperate for workers. Employers in some fields have relaxed criminal record requirements, especially those involving minor drug use and non-violent crimes, to expand their employee base. Having minor crimes expunged sooner can open doors to jobs, housing and education previously unattainable.
Expungements occur at the court’s discretion. Prosecutors have 30 days after filing to object with valid cause. The process typically takes 120 days after filing to complete.
An expungement attorney can advise you on eligibility waiting periods and whether you meet the qualifying criteria before you pursue expungement. Violations of probation or parole may invalidate eligibility. Consulting an Ocean City expungement lawyer is highly recommended.
Maryland joins a national shift towards more accessible criminal record expungement. Maryland expects tens of thousands more individuals will now expunge eligible records.
If you have a criminal record, an Ocean City expungement lawyer can help. The attorneys at Maronick Law LLC have experience with Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh expungement matters.
Maronick Law LLC is open during the pandemic and continues to meet your legal needs. We can meet with you remotely if you have access to Zoom. You can contact the law office at 410-881-4022 or via our website for a free consultation.