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Qualifications and processes for expungements in Maryland

In one of our posts last month, we discussed how we can help people who are trying to get records expunged in the criminal justice system. We realize that some of our Maryland readers might want to know more about expungements in the state.

In order for a case to be expunged, the case must meet certain requirements. The charge you are trying to get expunged must have the possibility of imprisonment attached to it, so minor traffic violations likely can't be expunged. The outcome of the case also affects whether it can be expunged.

Cases that ended with you being found not guilty, those in which the charges were dismissed, those that were indefinitely postponed, those that were settled and some that ended in probation before judgment are eligible for expungment. The exception to the probation before judgment cases are charges of driving under the influence or driving while impaired. Those cases can't be expunged.

Cases that didn't result in prosecution, which are called Nolle Prosequi cases, are also eligible. If your case was fully and unconditionally pardoned by the governor, an expungement is possible.

Getting cases expunged usually takes around 90 days, but might take longer if the expungement is appealed or if there is an objection to the case. The proceedings start with filing specific forms, the Form DC/CR 72 and Form DC/CR 78, with the court clerk in the court that holds the records for the final outcome of your case. When those forms are filed, you have to pay a fee.

If you didn't have to go to court to determine the outcome of your case, the process is a little different since no court handled the case. With that in mind, it is vital for you to understand the process of having records expunged. Working with someone familiar with expungements might help you to learn how to proceed with your petition.

Source: Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, "Expungements" Nov. 26, 2014

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