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
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.
(Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure §§ 10-103, 103.1 (2018).)
You were arrested and charged with a crime, but not convicted. You may request that your record be expunged if:
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 subsequent criminal convictions or if there are criminal proceedings pending against you. In addition, certain charges—including charges resulting from DUI probation—may not be expunged. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-105 (2018).)
Felonies. Effective October 1, 2018, some convictions for the following felonies are eligible for expungement:
You must wait 15 years after completing your sentence before filing for expungement. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-110 (2018).)
Misdemeanors. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, your criminal record might be eligible for expungement. Maryland’s law lists more than 100 misdemeanor offenses that qualify for expungement, including drug possession, prostitution, theft, and assault in the second degree. (See Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-110 for the full list of eligible offenses.) You must wait ten years after completing your sentence before filing for expungement, unless you were convicted of second degree assault or a domestic violence crime. In those cases, you must wait 15 years after completing your sentence to apply. If you are convicted of another crime during the waiting period, the original conviction is not eligible for expungement until the new conviction becomes eligible for expungement. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-110 (2018).)
Minor nuisance crimes. Convictions for minor nuisance crimes, such as public urination, panhandling, consuming alcohol in public, and loitering, are eligible for expungement after a three-year waiting period. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-105 (2018).)
Offenses that are no longer considered criminal. If you were convicted for an act that is no longer a crime, your record might be eligible for expungement. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-105 (2018).)
Offenses for which you were pardoned. Your criminal record may qualify for expungement if you were convicted of only one nonviolent crime and the governor granted you a full pardon. (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-105 (2018).)
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.
Cleaning up a criminal case record can be complicated, and the law can change at any time. 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.