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When Can I Seek Expungement of a Maryland Criminal Record?

Even if you are never convicted of a crime, an arrest or trial still creates a public record of these activities. It is possible to seek the removal or “expungement” of these records in Maryland. But the rules governing expungement are somewhat complicated to understand.

First of all, there are different types of records that you need to consider. If your driving record contains any offenses, the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) has custody of those records. The MVA does periodically expunge records on their own initiative based on the length of time since a driver’s last conviction. So, if you have a very old offense on your record, it has probably been automatically expunged without you having to do anything.

Similarly, Maryland law requires the police to automatically expunge an arrest record within 60 days if a person was detained but never charged with a crime. But that does not apply to court records or cases where you have been charged with either a crime or a civil offense or infraction.

Who Qualifies for Expungement?

So how do you get these records expunged? Under a recent change to Maryland law, some arrest records will now be automatically expunged after three years. But in many other cases, you will need to file a separate petition with the court asking for expungement.

You can file a petition if any of the following apply to a particular arrest or charge:

  • You were found not guilty of the alleged offense.
  • You were convicted of certain specified misdemeanors or simple marijuana possession.
  • You were found “not criminally responsible” for certain specified “nuisance” crimes.
  • The charges were dismissed or the State’s Attorney declined to prosecute.
  • You were convicted of an offense that is no longer a crime under Maryland law.
  • The charge resulted in a finding of probation before judgment (this does not apply in DUI/DWI cases).
  • Your case was indefinitely postponed by the court.
  • You were convicted of a single non-violent criminal act and later granted a full and unconditional pardon by the Governor of Maryland.

As of October 2021, records from any criminal cases that resulted in acquittal, dismissal, or non-prosecution (except for certain drug and alcohol offenses) will now be automatically expunged after three years. You can also file a petition for expungement three years after the disposition of your case. In situations where you are eligible to seek expunction following a conviction or finding of criminal responsibility, a petition can be filed three years after the conviction or the satisfactory completion of any sentence, whichever is later.

Once an expungement petition is filed, the State’s Attorney or law enforcement may file an objection within 30 days. If there is an objection, the court will hold a hearing. If the judge grants the expungement, the relevant records must be removed or destroyed within 60 days.

Contact Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301) 705-5137.