Expungement is a process that allows you to petition the court for the removal of specific types of police and court records, shielding them from public view. In the state of Maryland, you can have your records expunged from court files, police files, and Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) files. There is a specific filing process to be followed with each agency. If you qualify for expungement in a particular case, those records will be protected from public inspection and you will also likely not be required to disclose that you were arrested or convicted of a particular crime.
The importance of expunging your criminal and MVA records
Businesses, agencies, and various organizations require background checks for their applicants. If you have a criminal charge on your record that has not been expunged, it can hinder your advancement with:
- Employment opportunities
- Educational opportunities
- Housing opportunities
- Obtaining government services
- Obtaining a professional license
- Seeking a license for a firearm
Why you need an attorney to help with your expungement request
The process of cleaning up your criminal case record can be complex. As well, the law is subject to change at any time. Therefore, it’s important to have the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in order to discuss your specific case and obtain the legal help you need to move the process forward successfully.
Why you may be ineligible for expungement of your criminal record
In certain cases, you may be ineligible to have your records expunged in MD. These include:
- When you are facing upcoming criminal proceedings.
- If you received probation before judgment (PBJ) but were subsequently convicted of another crime within three years. In such a case you may not have your PBJ case expunged. The exception is if the new conviction is for an action no longer designated a crime or a minor traffic violation – the new conviction will not hinder your ability to obtain expungement.
- If your PBJ is related to driving and alcohol.
- If, during your waiting period, you are convicted of a crime, unless that later conviction becomes eligible for expungement.
- If your conviction was for identity theft.
According to Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-107, if you are facing multiple charges surrounding the same transaction, incident, or series of facts, records from your case may be expunged only if each of the charges from the specific incident are eligible for expungement. This is referred to as the Unit Rule. A conviction on minor traffic violations, however, will not prevent you from obtaining expungement of your other related records.
Why you may be ineligible for expungement of your MVA record
According to Md. Code, Transportation § 16-117.1, expungement is not available for the removal of certain records. For instance, if the record entry pertains to a fatal accident involving alcohol, or if it is required to properly assess subsequent penalties imposed on the offender, the person’s entire record is not eligible for expungement. An example includes if you were convicted of a DWI and also received a speeding citation. In this case, the speeding citation is not eligible for expungement.
Although expungement may not completely destroy the record of your criminal case, it can seal and move out of public view these records to potential employers, etc.
At Carey Law Office, we can help you determine if you qualify for the expungement of any part of your criminal record. To begin the process with a free consultation with a defense lawyer in Bowie or Crofton, call us today at 301.464.2500 or fill out our contact form.