Expungement is the process of removing records from public inspection. Records may be expunged or removed from 1) MVA files; 2) police and other law enforcement agency files; 3) files maintained by the Office of the States Attorney; and 4) files maintained by the court in which you were charged. If you have been charged with a criminal offense or a civil infraction in lieu of being charged with criminal offense (eg. underage drinking), a record of these charges exist even if you completed a pre-trial diversion program. In order to receive an order of expungement from the court, you must first file a formal petition and depending on the disposition you received, the required petition may differ from that normally used. Additionally, if you file for expungement within three (3) years of being arrested or charged, you must also file a formal waiver certifying that you will not institute a civil action against the office or agency that charged or arrested you. Maryland expungement laws have changed dramatically in recent years, for example, certain guilty findings are now eligible for expungement which was previously only available by petitioning the governor for a pardon. Give us a call and we will be glad to discuss the expungement process with you and if you are eligible, complete and file the paperwork on your behalf at a reasonable price.
To “Shield” a police or court record relating to a guilty finding means to make the records related to the conviction inaccessible to the public. Under the Maryland Second Chance Act, a person can only file to shield a conviction one time during his or her lifetime and the conviction must be for one of the following offenses:
- Disorderly Conduct
- Disturbing the Peace
- Failure to Obey a Reasonable and Lawful Order
- Malicious Destruction of Property in the Lesser Degree
- Trespass on Posted Property
- Possessing or Administering a Controlled Dangerous Substance
- Possessing or Administering a Non-Controlled Dangerous Substance
- Use of or Possession with Intent to Use Drug Paraphernalia
- Driving without a License
- Driving While Privileged is Canceled, Suspended, Refused, or Revoked
- Driving While Uninsured
- A Prostitution Offense
Convictions in which the court, often at the request of the State, marks the crime “domestically related” are not eligible for shielding. Please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss if you are eligible to have your record shielded and if necessary, represent you at a hearing in the event the State objects to your request.