An arrest or conviction can burden you with a criminal record, creating a serious obstacle when you are applying for jobs, loans, or housing options. However, the arrest or conviction may not need to stay on your public record forever. Depending on factors like how your case was resolved and what offense was involved, you may be eligible for an expungement, which has the effect of sealing your record from almost anyone who might search. With a few additional exceptions, the only people or organizations that can see expunged records in Maryland are generally judges, prosecutors, police officers, probation officers, and public schools.
If you are interested in filing for an expungement, you should talk to an experienced expungements lawyer about getting the process started. The state enforces strict eligibility criteria and complex procedures for completing an expungement, making quality representation essential. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, we have more than a decade of experience helping Maryland residents wipe the slate clean and get fresh starts by filing for criminal records expungements. If you need help turning a new page and putting the past behind you, ask how we can help you begin. Contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online to set up a free legal consultation, or call (410) 694-7291 to set up a free legal consultation with a Maryland expungement attorney today.
Eligibility for Criminal Record Expungement in Maryland
Most states, including Maryland, have procedures in place by which eligible individuals may expunge certain criminal records. In Maryland, the success of a petition to expunge depends primarily on how the case was resolved. This outcome is known as a case’s “disposition.”
However, before going further into the expungement process, it’s important to simply determine whether any criminal records exist. If you were arrested after October 1, 2007, but were never charged with a crime, your arrest records were likely automatically expunged 60 days after the arrest. If you were arrested before that date and charges were never filed, the police department which made the arrest may still have your arrest records on file. In that case, you may generally file a petition for expungement unless more than eight years have already passed since the arrest, provided you meet other eligibility criteria.
If you were criminally charged, then you may be able to petition to for an expungement, depending on the outcome or disposition of the case. Successful expungement may be possible if one of the following statements applies to your case:
- You were found not guilty (“acquitted”).
- The charges against you were dismissed.
- The state prosecutor declined to prosecute the case.
- The result was probation before judgement. The exception to this situation is when the charges were for driving while under the influence.
- The case was indefinitely postponed.
- You were convicted of one non-violent crime and subsequently received a full pardon from the Governor of Maryland.
If any of the above descriptions apply, you can potentially file for expungement, provided the appropriate amount of time has passed. For example, at least three years must have passed from the date of the following if:
- You were placed on probation.
- Your case was indefinitely postponed.
- Your case was dismissed.
- You were acquitted.
How Do You File for Expungement in Maryland?
You will need to file various forms, and pay the associated fees, in order to have your records expunged successfully. A Maryland lawyer for expungements can help you prepare and file the necessary documents with the correct court. Generally speaking, you must petition the court in which your case was originally heard.
The forms you need to file for expungement may include the following, depending on the outcome of your case:
- CC-DC-072B (Petition for Expungement of Records) – Only file this version of the form if you were found guilty (known as a “guilty disposition”).
- CC-DC-072A (Petition for Expungement of Records) – Do not file this version of the form if you were found guilty. Only file this version of the form if you were acquitted, placed on probation, or your case was dismissed. There are also several less common situations where you may need to file this version of the petition.
- CC-DCCR-078 (Form 4-503.2 General Waiver and Release (Criminal Procedure 10-105)) – This is a short, simple form which requires only a signature and date.
In addition to submitting the necessary forms, you must also pay various fees. However, you may be able to get a waiver if you can show that the fees would cause financial hardship.
Maryland Criminal Expungement Attorney for Help Sealing Arrest Records
A criminal record can hold you back when all you want to do is move forward. With an expungement sealing your record, it is easier to turn the page and seize new opportunities in life.
If you believe you might qualify for an expungement in Maryland, talk to an experienced criminal lawyer about the next steps in your case. For a free legal consultation with an expungements attorney in Baltimore, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291, or contact us online today. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help answer your questions about expunging a criminal record in Maryland.