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There is a special process called “expungement” that you can use to change your criminal record. Expungement is a court process that can allow you to remove certain items from your criminal record, depending on the situation.
Under Maryland law, you must file a petition and ask the court to expunge your records. You can ask for expungement if:
You get an automatic expungement of records relating to arrests that do not result in the filing of a charge.
Additionally, you can ask for expungement if you were not subsequently convicted of any crime which carried a possible prison sentence if:
A “pardon” is an act of the Governor in which s/he frees someone of guilt for a criminal act and relieves the grantee from any penalties of law for those acts. (Md. Correctional Services Code Ann. §7-101(h)) You may not request a pardon if you are currently in jail. The Governor uses the Maryland Parole Commission’s guidelines in determining whether or not to grant a pardon. The following summarizes the guidelines.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, you must have been crime-free for at least five (5) years from the time of your sentencing or release from jail, parole, or probation, whichever occurred last.
If you were convicted of a felony:
The following factors are considered regarding your request for a pardon:
You can also file for expungement if your case was transferred to juvenile court.
You can also file for expungement of a conviction (or, effective October 1, 2013, a finding of Not Criminally Responsible) for certain nuisance crimes like:
Effective October 1, 2013, you can also file for expungement of a finding of Not Criminally Responsible for misdemeanor:
If your case had multiple charges and you were found guilty of one of those charges, you may NOT have the other charges expunged unless those charges are also expungeable. A person is NOT entitled to an expungement if, since the time of conviction of the nuisance crime was sought, the person has been convicted of another crime other than a minor trafic violation or is the defendant in a pending criminal proceeding. Read the Law: MD Crim. Proc. § 10-105
Generally you must wait three (3) years after your case was decided before you can file for expungement, but the rules vary based on the results of your case:
In all above cases, however, a court may grant a petition for expungement at any time if the court feels you have shown good cause. Expungement of record after charge is filed. If you file for expungement before the time period has elapsed, the State's Attorney may file an objection. You will then have the opportunity to show why you have good cause at a hearing.
Read the Law: MD Criminal Proc. § 10-105
When you file for an expungement, you must pay a $30 filing fee for each case with charges that you want expunged unless you were acquitted of the charges. All expungement requests must be filed with the court in which your criminal proceeding was held. Expungement of record after charge is filed. Note: You may only file for expungement of Maryland charges in a Maryland court. Traffic violations cannot be expunged.
In district court, you need to fill out a Petition for Expungement. To help you complete the form and answer other questions you may have concerning you expungement, the District Court of Maryland has available a printable brochure on Expungement online.
It is important to use broad language when you request an expungement. You should indicate that you wish to expunge all police records, court records, and "other records maintained by the State of Maryland and its subdivisions" relating to your charge.
In circuit court, broad language is the best way to ensure that all records of your arrest, detention, etc. are expunged. If you fail to include such broad language, the court will only order the expungement of the records you mention specifically. Davis v. Magee, 2001 Md. App. LEXIS 129
After you have filed for expungement, the State’s Attorney has 30 days to file an objection to your petition. If the State’s Attorney does not do so, the court will order the expungement of police and court records relating to your charge. If the State’s Attorney does object, the court will conduct a hearing on your petition at which the court will decide whether or not you are entitled to an expungement.
Your criminal record is available from the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). The cost for retrieving your records is $38 and must be paid with a money order or personal or certified check. Cash is not accepted. To get a copy of your records, you must appear between 8 am and 3:30 pm at:
CJIS – Central Repository
Reisterstown Plaza, Room 200
6776 Reisterstown Road
A second location you may go to for obtaining your criminal records is a state police office nearest to you.
Employment discrimination and your criminal record:
Some employers (like those dealing with child care or adult dependant care) are required to ask about your criminal history. If an employer does look at your criminal history, they should keep in mind the following three factors:
There is no law in Maryland that requires employers to look at these factors.
This site offers legal information, not legal advice. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options. However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney. The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site. In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2013.”