In a world ruled by social media and Internet connectivity, information can spread quickly. Those who have been accused of a crime could find themselves subjected to rumor and gossip that can damage employment prospects and educational opportunities. The same can happen to those who have been charged but not convicted. Luckily, relief is available to those people through the expungement process.
In Maryland, expunging your criminal record takes about 90 days from the date you file the necessary paperwork. The process can be complicated, and the stakes can be high. Baltimore criminal defense lawyer Randolph Rice guides you through the criminal expungement application process to help you avoid missteps or omissions.
What is a 90 Day Criminal Expungement?
Although the term “expunge” is often used to imply the total deletion of a person’s criminal record, the reality is a little different. When a record is expunged, it is no longer accessible to the public through government databases or other standard access points. This means, for instance, that a background check would not turn up the expunged offenses, but there are still some limitations to the process.
It is not possible to fully expunge your records from every agency in Maryland, only from Motor Vehicle Administration files, police files, and court files. Agencies can also object to the expungement, putting it on hold unless you file an appeal within a certain time frame. These hang-ups can be avoided in many cases; a skilled legal professional can be of great help in this regard. If you are attempting to get your record expunged in Maryland, consider turning to the expertise of attorney Randolph Rice.
Who Is Eligible for a Criminal Expungement?
There are a significant number of circumstances in which a person can have their record expunged, though the process has to be done differently for the different agencies that keep records of alleged wrongdoing. The cases in which you could be eligible for a criminal expungement can be complicated:
- If you were tried and eventually found not guilty in a court of law, you can file for expungement after three years, or sooner if you waive the right to file a lawsuit.
- If you were found either guilty or not criminally responsible for a certain subset of crimes, you can file three years after the ruling or the completion of your sentence (which can include probation), whichever is later.
- If the charges against you were dismissed, you can file after three years, or sooner if you give up your right to file a lawsuit.
- If the crime for which you were convicted is no longer considered an illegal act, you can file whenever you want.
- If your case was moved to a Stet docket – in essence, if it was set aside indefinitely by the prosecutor – you can file after three years have passed from the date of the disposition.
If you feel you have a good reason why your petition should be considered before it would normally be allowed, you can go ahead and file anyway. There is a chance the court will accept the petition if you make a persuasive case.
Applying for a Criminal Expungement in Maryland
If you qualify to have your criminal record expunged, you should know that the various agencies that provide this service each have their own set of procedures. Those pertaining to the Motor Vehicle Administration are the simplest – many driving-related records are expunged automatically, and you can call the MVA at 1-800-950-1682 to check. For other petitions, you will need to first obtain the appropriate paperwork:
- If you are expunging records related to an acquittal, dismissal, stet, or other similar action, you will need a Petition for Expungement of Records (CC-DC-CR-072A).
- If you are looking to expunge records related to a guilty disposition, you need a Petition for Expungement of Records (CC-DC-CR-072B).
- If you are filing your petition before the three-year threshold that applies to most cases and are waiving your right to related civil actions, look for General Waiver and Release (CC-DC-CR-078).
Most of the necessary forms are available online at www.mdcourts.gov. State and local law enforcement agencies have 30 days from the date you file to object; if they do, you will be notified of the objection and told to attend a hearing. If your petition is denied, you will have another 30 days beyond that to appeal. Assuming that there are no objections, the entire process should take about 90 days.
Call Maryland Expungement Lawyer Randolph Rice Today
If you are struggling to deal with a stain on your record caused by criminal charges, you may have an opportunity to clean the slate. The expungement process in Maryland can offer a chance to move on with your life, but there are no guarantees. Retaining a skilled, experienced criminal defense lawyer can drastically increase your chances of getting the results you want. Former Assistant State’s Attorney Randolph Rice knows the Maryland legal system inside and out and can help you clear your record. Call (410) 694-7291 today for your free consultation.