In Maryland, your criminal record may be expunged -- that is, erased or sealed -- under the circumstances described below. If your case qualifies for expungement, it will be removed from public inspection. In most cases, you will not have to disclose that you were arrested or convicted of a crime.
Expungement If You Were Not Convicted of a Crime
You were arrested but not charged with a crime. If you were arrested but not charged, your case qualifies for expungement -- but whether it will be automatically erased depends on the date of your arrest.
- If you were arrested on or after October 1, 2007, your arrest will be automatically expunged within 60 days of your release from custody.
- If you were arrested before that date, you must petition the arresting agency to expunge your record. You must request expungement within eight years of the date of the incident for which you were arrested. (Maryland Code §§ 10-103 – 103.1.)
You were arrested and charged with a crime, but not convicted. You may request that your record be expunged if:
- the charge against you was dismissed
- the charges against you were dropped (nolle prosequi)
- the court indefinitely postponed your case
- your case was settled
- you were placed on probation without judgment (except for DUI charges), or
- you were found not guilty.
In most cases, you must wait three years before you file for expungement, unless you can show good cause why a court should expunge your case sooner, or if you sign a general waiver waiving your right to sue the police.
Your case will not qualify for expungement if you have a subsequent criminal convictions or if there are criminal proceedings pending against you. In addition, certain charges -- including domestic violence charges and charges resulting from DUI probation -- may not be expunged.
(Maryland Code § 10-105.)
Expungement If You Were Convicted of a Crime
Your criminal record may qualify for expungement if you were convicted of only one nonviolent crime and the Governor granted you a full pardon. There is an exception to this rule for certain minor nuisance crimes, which may be eligible for expungement without a pardon.
(Maryland Code § 10-105.)
How to File for Expungement
The Maryland Judiciary offers a comprehensive brochure called Information About Removing Criminal Records from Public Access in Maryland. It helps you determine whether or not your case is eligible for expungement and explains how to file your petition with the proper agency.
Getting Legal Help
Cleaning up a criminal case record can be complicated. To learn more about expunging criminal records in Maryland -- and to discuss your personal circumstances -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. You can also go to www.ExpungeMaryland.org to learn if your case is expungeable and get information on how to contact an attorney.