What is an expungement?
An expungement is the legal process of removing a criminal record from public inspection. Maryland allows records to be expunged from Motor Vehicle Administration files, police files, and court files. Although generally thought of as universal, each expungement process and agency is different and has different requirements to guarantee that the files are properly removed. Which means even if you expunged your record with one agency, it could still be viewed by the public through a different agency. To successfully expunge a record from all the files, there needs to be an application submitted for an expungement with each agency and a proper petition and supporting documents filed with the court.
Maryland Agency Specific Processes
The Motor Vehicle Administration expunges some records automatically after three years while others depend on the offense type and time of the last conviction.
For police records when charges were not filed and you were detained by a police agency, records will automatically be expunged within 60 days of release but police records may still exist in their files. To have those records expunged you must contact the agency, find out what specific form submissions are required, and do so within 8 years of the incident date.
Expungable court records are not automatically removed when a person has been arrested and charged with a crime or civil violation as a substitute for criminal charges. To remove these records, a petition must be filed for expungement with the court if:
• You were found not guilty
• Charge(s) were dismissed
• A probation before judgement (PBJ) was entered (not including DUI and DWI charges)
• A nolle prosequi was entered by the State Attorney
• Case was “steted” by the court (i.e. indefinitely postponed until other requirements are fulfilled)
• Pardon was Entered
What Cannot be Expunged?
There are certain situations where a criminal record cannot be expunged and include but are not limited to the following:
• If you received a PBJ but were later convicted of a new crime within a 3 year time frame, the original case cannot be expunged
• If you currently have criminal proceedings pending against you
• A PBJ for certain alcohol related driving offenses:
o Death Caused by DUI or DWI
Timing of filing for Expungement
The required time to file for an expungement varies depending on the outcome of your case and the type of waiver and release form you decide to file. Some general timelines are included below:
After filing the petition, the process usually takes approximately 90 days to complete unless there is an objection by the State Attorney (who must do so within 30 days), objection by law enforcement agency (who must do so within 30 days), or an appeal has been requested. The court will then notify you as to whether the petition has been granted or denied.
A general waiver and release form is the form filed with the court to release a person from claims relating to arrest and or detention. Each court in the state has different filing requirements for this form and some require a witness to verify so its best to check with the clerk of the specific Maryland court where you are filing to be sure of what is required.
In addition to the general waiver and release, a petition must also be filed with the court. The filing fee is $30 for each case and nonrefundable even if it is later denied. You may request that the court waive the fee if you cannot afford it. There is no filing fee assessed to expunge a not guilty or acquitted verdict.
Filing for and successfully obtaining an expungement can be a difficult process to navigate alone. If you have a criminal record that is eligible for expungement and you need guidance on how to proceed, Contact Angel Murphy with The Murphy Law Firm, LLC today to schedule your free criminal consultation at (240) 493-9116 or email@example.com. If you are active on social media, Like us on Facebook @AMurphyLegal, Follow us on Instagram @AMurphyLegal, and Twitter @AMurphy_Legal