The outcome of the DUI or DWI charges dictates if a drunk driving arrest can be expunged in Maryland. The outcome means the disposition or finding in the criminal case. For example, a guilty or probation before judgment (PBJ) is the outcome or disposition in a DUI case. A DUI can be expunged in Maryland if a select disposition or outcome in the case occurs. What in the world does that mean? In short, it is legal talk for: It depends on what happened when the defendant appeared in Court.
The general rule is, “DUI in Maryland cannot be expunged,” however, there are exceptions to the rule. If the defendant receives a PBJ or Guilty finding, the DUI and DWI charges cannot be removed from their records. But, if the State’s Attorney dismissed, nolle prosequi or asked the court to enter a Stet, then the driving under the influence charges may be eligible for expungement.
When considering expungement, you have to look at all of the charges received in conjunction with the DUI and DWI charges. If any of the other charges are ineligible pursuant to the law, then the DUI or DWI charge may not be eligible for expungement. Our Baltimore DUI lawyer discusses.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is the destruction or removal of criminal, court and police records. If a criminal/traffic case is eligible, a criminal defense lawyer or the defendant may file a petition to have that record expunged from the Maryland court and police records. An expungement will also remove records from the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.
Removal of the records from Maryland Judiciary Case Search is helpful in shielding your personal information from employers, friends and family that may be looking up your background.
What is a DUI in Maryland?
DUI stands for “Driving under the influence” or ‘Driving under the influence per se.” Drunk driving statutes in Maryland have various sections and subsections, but in most criminal prosecutions for drunk driving, a person will be charged with DUI and DWI.
The Maryland DUI laws can be found under the Maryland Transportation Article 21-902. There the legislature has defined what is to be considered the illegal operation of a motor vehicle while impaired or under the influence of alcohol, drugs, a combination of drugs and alcohol, or controlled dangerous substances.
What is a DWI and Is it the Same When it Comes to Expungement?
A DWI is essentially the same charge as a DUI when it comes to the expungement laws. It is a crime under the Maryland Transportation Article 21-902 and is seen in the same light when it comes to the expungement laws in Maryland.
So, if you are looking to expunge a DWI, follow the same rules as if you were trying to expunge a DUI in Maryland.
When a DUI Cannot Be Expunged in Maryland
Let’s start with the scenarios when a DUI or DWI cannot be expunged in Maryland. If you appear in Court and you receive a PBJ (probation before judgment) or are found “guilty,” then you will never be able to expunge the DUI from your record.
PBJ for a DUI, Why It Can’t be Expunged?
For most other crimes and traffic violations in Maryland, a PBJ can be expunged after a 3 year waiting period from the end of probation or the date it was entered, whichever is later.
However, there is an exception for DUI and DWI charges under TA 21-902. This rule is contained in Maryland Criminal Procedure 10-105(a)(3) and states in part:
“A person who has been charged with the commission of a crime, including a violation of the Transportation Article for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed…..may file a petition listing relevant facts for expungement of a police record, court record, or other record maintained by the State or a political subdivision of the State if…..(3) a probation before judgment is entered, unless the person is charged with a violation of § 21–902 of the Transportation Article…”
When a DUI or DWI Can Be Expunged in Maryland
There are cases when a DUI or DWI can be expunged. If the defendant’s DUI or DWI charges result in a:
Under these four outcomes or dispositions, a DUI or DWI can be expunged in Maryland.
If you are facing a DUI or DWI and are concerned about how it will affect your record, talk to our DUI defense lawyer today to understand the expungement process in Maryland and how to keep a DUI or DWI conviction off your record.