Expunging a Criminal Record
Expungement is the removal of records from public inspection. Records may be expunged from MVA files, Court, and police files. Court records are not automatically expunged; to have the records removed one must file a petition for expungement with the Court. Court records may be expunged if the following occurred: a finding of not guilty (acquittal), guilty finding of certain nuisance crimes, the charges were dismissed, the charges resulted in a probation before judgment (excluding charges of driving while under the influence or driving while impaired), the State’s Attorney entered a nolle prosequi, the Court entered a Stet, a full and unconditional pardon by the Governor was granted.
The waiting period to file the petition with the Court varies depending on the outcome of the case. An individual may file a petition for expungement immediately upon an outcome of an acquittal (not guilty), nolle prosequi, or a dismissal. If an individual was granted probation before judgment (PBJ), then a petition may be filed three years after the probation was granted or probation ended, whichever is later. A petition for expungement based on a guilty verdict for a specified nuisance crime may be filed three years from the date of conviction or satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later. For Stets, an individual may file a petition for expungement three years after the Stet was entered. For cases that do not fall under these findings, an individual may file a petition for expungement at any time on a showing of good case to the Court and the Court will decide if an expungement is appropriate.
One is not entitled to an expungement of records in cases where a guilty finding was entered except for certain nuisance crimes under Maryland Criminal Procedure §10-105(a)(9), if a finding of probation before judgment, nolle prosequi, stet, a pardon or conviction of a specified publican nuisance crime, and since then the person has been convicted of another crime other than a minor traffic violation or are a defendant is a pending criminal proceeding, of a disposition of probation before judgment for a violation of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI). In addition, if charged with multiple offenses and some of the charges were nolle prosequi but were found guilty of one or more of the other charges, then a person is not able to file a petition for expungement of the charges that were nolle prosequi.
The fee to file a petition is $30.00 however there is no fee for a verdict of not guilty (acquittal). The process for a petition for expungement usually takes 90 days from the date of filing
If you need more information on filing for an expungement or any other criminal related legal questions, please contact our office at 410.288.2900.