Expungement is the legal erasure of past criminal records. After an expungement has been granted, the files will not longer be able to be accessed by the public or law enforcement agencies. This is important to those seeking professional licensing, financial aid, employment, and credit. Even though expungement is the erasure of arrest records, it does not mean that they completely disappear. The files will remain intact and can be accessed for three reasons. The first reason is for the access of government officials for the running for public office. The second is for entrance into the United States military. And the third is for the use in a court trial. Even though the file has been erased, if a new case is at hand, the expunged file will most likely be used as a prior offense causing punishments to escalate.
Expungement Eligibility in Maryland
Expungement is not a right under the United States Government, instead it is a privilege to deserving individuals. Only certain individuals are allowed to petition for expungement. These individuals can include anyone who has been acquitted of a crime, anyone whose charge was dismissed, anyone who has probation before a judgment was entered--in some cases--anyone who has a nolle prosequi entered, anyone with criminal charges marked as stet, anyone charged with assault that was dismissed in pre-trial, and anyone whose case was transferred to the juvenile court.
Expungement is also possible for those convicted of one criminal act that is not a crime of violence or those who have been granted a full and unconditional pardons from the Maryland Governor. A court records that existed before the first of July 1975 and is still maintained may often be expunged. This particular law does not apply to records of minor traffic violations, cash receipt or disbursement record that is needed for auditing purposes, for the published opinion of a court, transcript of court proceedings that was made by a court reporter in a multiple defendant case, a record of work that is the product of law enforcement units used solely for police investigation, or an investigatory file.
If an expungement request of police records is denied under certain subsections, the individual can apply for an expungement order in the District Court with the proper abilities against the law enforcement unit. This petition must be filed in application within thirty days after the written notice of denial from the law enforcement unit is mailed or delivered. A hearing will begin after the law enforcement unit has been notified of the application. If the court finds the individual entitled to expungement, the court will order the law enforcement unit to expunge the police records. If the court finds the individual's application not in alignment for expungement, the application will be denied. Each party of the process is entitled to an appellate review of the record as provided in the Courts Article for civil case appeals from the District Court. In the case of a waiver the person who will receive expungement will not be required to pay the costs for the expungement. See also:
Maryland Felony External link (opens in new window)
Maryland Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Maryland Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)