Police in Maryland take pride in doing their jobs, and sometimes they are a little too zealous, issuing arrests in cases where they are not warranted. Other times, an arrest may be the result of egregious police misconduct. What many people in Maryland do not realize is that even if a case is dismissed, the arrest creates a criminal record that remains visible to anyone who conducts a search.
Potential employers, landlords, banks, and even non-profit groups routinely conduct searches when deciding whether to work with someone new, and a criminal record creates a bad impression that is not easily forgotten. But an expungement can make that record disappear from view, even in some cases where an individual has a conviction on the record.
The process of obtaining an expungement varies somewhat depending on the circumstances. To learn whether you may be eligible to have your criminal records expunged, you may want to consult a Maryland expungement lawyer. A criminal defense attorney with experience handling expungements could assist with the process, particularly in situations where the petition for expungement is likely to be challenged.
In many cases where an arrest has not resulted in a conviction or someone has paid a citation, the record remains in the system, even for certain traffic offenses. The process of expungement removes these crimes from the judicial records and Maryland forwards the information to the FBI so that it can be removed from their records as well.
Some cases may be eligible for expungement within a short time while other situations require a longer amount of time to pass before expungement may be granted. Expungement is not automatic, however, except in the case of records at the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. A diligent attorney in Maryland could further help someone understand how getting expunged works in the state.
Md. Code, Crim. Pro. §10-105 explains the general situations where someone charged with a criminal offense may file a petition for expungement. Those charged with a civil offense or infraction in lieu of a criminal charge are also eligible to file for expungement.
Expungement may be available when:
In many situations, a waiting period of three years or more must pass before expungement becomes available. However, it is sometimes possible for an individual to petition for expungement sooner if they execute a “General Waiver and Release” of all legal claims stemming from the charge. A Maryland attorney could help someone who is trying to get expunged from their conviction.
The Division of Government Relations and Public Affairs of the Maryland Judiciary puts out information to assist those seeking information about expungement. However, they advise that the clerk of the court is not authorized to assist those filing petitions other than to provide information such as case numbers.
While representation by an attorney is not required to file a petition, the Judiciary suggests consultation with a lawyer could help with questions about disclosure, security clearances, the effect on immigration or naturalization proceedings, and other issues related to expungement. A petition for expungement can be denied, in which case an appeal may be filed within 30 days.
A Maryland expungement lawyer could assist at any point in the process, from determining eligibility, to filing the petition, to making the case during any necessary appeals. To learn how an expungement attorney could assist in your situation, call now.
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