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Expungement Law in Maryland Has Changed for the Better

Maryland has a very powerful public database, the Maryland Judiciary Case Search.  That database is open to the public whether they are in Maryland or in Timbuktu.  Anybody, be it a stranger, a possible employer, a third cousin or your mother, concerts that database.  That database can be searched by name.

The person searching by name will find a great deal of information such as criminal records, traffic records, civil records, etc.  Some of that information may not be flattering.

For example, you may have a charge of rape when you are in your 20s.  A charge is not the same thing as a conviction.  A charge is just bringing the accusations against you formally.  If that charge was dropped, dismissed, you received an acquittal, Maryland has made it much easier to attain an expungement of that record.

Generally, it used to be that if a charge was dropped and later on you are convicted some different charge, for example, the rape charge was dropped and then after that you are convicted of possession of marijuana, you could not get the rape charge expunged.

The Gen. assembly has changed the law and even though you have that subsequent conviction you may be eligible to expunge the earlier charge.  Obviously what I am providing here is for informational purposes only.  There is no guarantee that you will get your old charge expunged but it is certainly worth looking into.  The process is fairly straightforward and the results can be outstanding.

Below is one of the main sections of Maryland expungement law.  If you need help expunging your record or looking into whether you are eligible for expungement please contact me.

2015 Maryland Code
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Title 10 - CRIMINAL RECORDS
Subtitle 1 - EXPUNGEMENT OF POLICE AND COURT RECORDS
§ 10-105 - Expungement of record after charge is filed

Universal Citation: MD Crim Pro Code § 10-105 (2015)
(a) Petition for expungement. -- A person who has been charged with the commission of a crime, including a violation of the Transportation Article for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed, or who has been charged with a civil offense or infraction, except a juvenile offense, as a substitute for a criminal charge may file a petition listing relevant facts for expungement of a police record, court record, or other record maintained by the State or a political subdivision of the State if:

(1) the person is acquitted;

(2) the charge is otherwise dismissed;

(3) a probation before judgment is entered, unless the person is charged with a violation of § 21-902 of the Transportation Article or Title 2, Subtitle 5 or § 3-211 of the Criminal Law Article;

(4) a nolle prosequi or nolle prosequi with the requirement of drug or alcohol treatment is entered;

(5) the court indefinitely postpones trial of a criminal charge by marking the criminal charge "stet" or stet with the requirement of drug or alcohol abuse treatment on the docket;

(6) the case is compromised under § 3-207 of the Criminal Law Article;

(7) the charge was transferred to the juvenile court under § 4-202 of this article;

(8) the person:

(i) is convicted of only one criminal act, and that act is not a crime of violence; and

(ii) is granted a full and unconditional pardon by the Governor;

(9) the person was convicted of a crime or found not criminally responsible under any State or local law that prohibits:

(i) urination or defecation in a public place;

(ii) panhandling or soliciting money;

(iii) drinking an alcoholic beverage in a public place;

(iv) obstructing the free passage of another in a public place or a public conveyance;

(v) sleeping on or in park structures, such as benches or doorways;

(vi) loitering;

(vii) vagrancy;

(viii) riding a transit vehicle without paying the applicable fare or exhibiting proof of payment; or

(ix) except for carrying or possessing an explosive, acid, concealed weapon, or other dangerous article as provided in § 7-705(b)(6) of the Transportation Article, any of the acts specified in § 7-705 of the Transportation Article;

(10) the person was found not criminally responsible under any State or local law that prohibits misdemeanor:

(i) trespass;

(ii) disturbing the peace; or

(iii) telephone misuse; or

(11) the person was convicted of a crime and the act on which the conviction was based is no longer a crime.

(a-1) Filing by attorney or personal representative. -- A person's attorney or personal representative may file a petition, on behalf of the person, for expungement under this section if the person died before disposition of the charge by nolle prosequi or dismissal.

(b) Where petition filed. --

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection, a person shall file a petition in the court in which the proceeding began.

(2) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii) of this paragraph, if the proceeding began in one court and was transferred to another court, the person shall file the petition in the court to which the proceeding was transferred.

(ii) If the proceeding began in one court and was transferred to the juvenile court under § 4-202 or § 4-202.2 of this article, the person shall file the petition in the court of original jurisdiction from which the order of transfer was entered.

(3) (i) If the proceeding in a court of original jurisdiction was appealed to a court exercising appellate jurisdiction, the person shall file the petition in the appellate court.

(ii) The appellate court may remand the matter to the court of original jurisdiction.

(c) Time of filing. --

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a petition for expungement based on an acquittal, a nolle prosequi, or a dismissal may not be filed within 3 years after the disposition, unless the petitioner files with the petition a written general waiver and release of all the petitioner's tort claims arising from the charge.

(2) A petition for expungement based on a probation before judgment or a stet with the requirement of drug or alcohol abuse treatment may not be filed earlier than the later of:

(i) the date the petitioner was discharged from probation or the requirements of obtaining drug or alcohol abuse treatment were completed; or

(ii) 3 years after the probation was granted or stet with the requirement of drug or alcohol abuse treatment was entered on the docket.

(3) A petition for expungement based on a nolle prosequi with the requirement of drug or alcohol treatment may not be filed until the completion of the required treatment.

(4) A petition for expungement based on a full and unconditional pardon by the Governor may not be filed later than 10 years after the pardon was signed by the Governor.

(5) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a petition for expungement based on a stet or a compromise under § 3-207 of the Criminal Law Article may not be filed within 3 years after the stet or compromise.

(6) A petition for expungement based on the conviction of a crime under subsection (a)(9) of this section may not be filed within 3 years after the conviction or satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, that was imposed for the conviction, whichever is later.

(7) A petition for expungement based on a finding of not criminally responsible under subsection (a)(9) or (10) of this section may not be filed within 3 years after the finding of not criminally responsible was made by the court.

(8) A court may grant a petition for expungement at any time on a showing of good cause.

(d) Period for objection by State's Attorney. --

(1) The court shall have a copy of a petition for expungement served on the State's Attorney.

(2) Unless the State's Attorney files an objection to the petition for expungement within 30 days after the petition is served, the court shall pass an order requiring the expungement of all police records and court records about the charge.

(e) Hearing on expungement. --

(1) If the State's Attorney files a timely objection to the petition, the court shall hold a hearing.

(2) If the court at the hearing finds that the person is entitled to expungement, the court shall order the expungement of all police records and court records about the charge.

(3) If the court finds that the person is not entitled to expungement, the court shall deny the petition.

(4) The person is not entitled to expungement if:

(i) the petition is based on the entry of probation before judgment, except a probation before judgment for a crime where the act on which the conviction is based is no longer a crime, and the person within 3 years of the entry of the probation before judgment has been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation or a crime where the act on which the conviction is based is no longer a crime; or

(ii) the person is a defendant in a pending criminal proceeding.

(f) Notice of compliance. -- Unless an order is stayed pending an appeal, within 60 days after entry of the order, every custodian of the police records and court records that are subject to the order of expungement shall advise in writing the court and the person who is seeking expungement of compliance with the order.

(g) Appellate review. --

(1) The State's Attorney is a party to the proceeding.

(2) A party aggrieved by the decision of the court is entitled to appellate review as provided in the Courts Article.


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