Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Maryland’s Expungement Process

                         One fairly common question that we get as criminal defense attorneys is whether and how a person can expunge records pertaining to criminal charges that are in the Maryland Court system.  It is relatively easy to find out what involvement a person has had with the Maryland Criminal Justice system as long as their records have not been expunged.  An unexpunged criminal record presents an obstacle to obtaining new employment, getting a security clearance as well as numerous other matters.

                         Fortunately, getting a criminal record expunged is a relatively painless and inexpensive process, provided that you are eligible.  For purposes of expungement a criminal record means the court record pertaining to any criminal offense, other than a juvenile offense, including any traffic offense in which a jail sentence may be imposed.  A criminal record includes any record of the violation, including a docket entry, pleading, index, charging document, memorandum, transcription of the proceedings, electronic recording, order and judgment.

                         Expungement means that the criminal record is removed from public inspection either by being destroyed or being removed to a secured area that is not publicly accessible.

                         Who is Eligible for Expungements?

·         Persons arrested but where no charge is filed.  A person who has been arrested, detained, or confined, but has not been charged is eligible for expungement.  An expungement based solely on an arrest without charges must be filed within eight years of the arrest. 

·         Defendants whose charges are nolle processed before service. If the state dismisses the charges before serving the defendant, the defendant may have the record expunged.

·         Defendants who are acquitted

·         Defendants whose charges are otherwise dismissed

·         A person who receives a probation before judgment, except where otherwise prohibited.  Certain offenses may not be expunged even with a probation before judgment.  DUIs and DWIs fall into this category

·         A nolle prosequi is entered

·         The court grants a “stet” or indefinite postponement

·         The case is compromised under §3-207 of the Criminal Law Article

·         The charge was transferred to juvenile court

·         Defendants found guilty of certain nuisance crimes such as public urination, panhandling, drinking an alcoholic beverage in a public place, obstructing the free passage of another in a public place, sleeping on or in park structures, loitering, vagrancy, riding a transit vehicle without paying the fare

·         The defendant was found not criminal responsible for trespass, disturbing the peace or telephone misuse

·         The defendant was convicted of an offense which is no longer a crime

                                The Expungement Petition

                         An expungement is obtained by filing a petition for expungement with the court where the case being expunged was filed.  If the case was transferred to another court, however, the petition will be filed in the court to which the case was transferred.     

                                Generally, a petition for expungement based on an acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal may not be filed until three years of the disposition, however, if the petitioner files a general release and waiver of all tort claims arising from the charge, the petition may be filed earlier.

                         A petition based on a probation before judgment or stet with the requirement of drug or alcohol abuse treatment may not be filed earlier than the later of: (1) the date that the defendant is discharged from probation or the requirements of the drug or alcohol treatment are completed; or (2) three years after the probation was granted or the date the stet with requirement for drug or alcohol abuse treatment was entered on the docket

                         A petition based on a governor’s pardon must be filed within ten (10) years of the pardon.                        

                         A petition based on a stet or compromise under 3-207 of the Criminal Law Article may not be filed within three years of the stet or compromise.

                         A petition based on conviction of a nuisance crime may be filed three years after the conviction or satisfactory completion of the sentence, whichever is later.

                         A petitioner based on a finding of not criminal responsible may be filed three years after the finding of not criminal responsible.

                         The court has discretion to grant a petition for expungement at any time upon a showing of good cause.

                         If the state’s attorney files an objection to a petition for expungement the court will hold a hearing.  A person is not entitled to an expungement based on a probation before judgment if, within three years after the probation before judgment was entered, the person was convicted of another crime, other than a minor traffic violation.

                         Expungements are not handled piecemeal. This means that in order to be eligible for an expungement, each charge within the case being expunged must be eligible for an expungement.  If, for example, the defendant has a conviction on one offense, but is acquitted of an another offense in the same case, the defendant cannot obtain an expungement of the offense of which he was acquitted.

                          Hiring an Attorney

                         At Baldwin & Briscoe, we help clients obtain expungements on a regular basis.  We can meet with you and determine if you are eligible for an expungement.  If you are not eligible for an expungement, we’ll be happy to advise you whether there are steps that can be taken to make you eligible at some point in the future.  We can also guide you through the process, file the appropriate petition and represent you in court, if your petition for expungement requires a hearing.  It is generally not expensive to hire an attorney to handle a simple expungement. 

                         If you decide to proceed without an attorney, expungement forms are available through the District Court website or at the clerk’s office of any district court in Maryland.

                         The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. can assist you if you are facing criminal charges of any kind or seeking an expungement.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice.  Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation.  All consultations are strictly confidential. 

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.

Andrew N. Sindler, Esq.
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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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