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Expunging a criminal record in Maryland

Expungement is the process of removing a criminal record from public availability. In Maryland, criminal records can be located with the police, the Motor Vehicle Administration or in court files. Records may be held by multiple agencies and no single process removes these files from all agencies.

Any criminal record that is kept by the Maryland MVA is automatically removed after three years. Other charges may be manually removed, but this will depend on the kind of charges a person was convicted of and how long it has been since the person was convicted. Maryland residents can contact their local MVA to find out additional information.

Regarding police records, if a person was held by police on or after October 1, 2007, but released without being charged with a crime, then those records will be expunged automatically after 60 days. However, if someone was held by police before October 1, 2007 and released without charges being filed, these records may still exist. In order to get these files expunged, a person must contact the police department who arrested them and ask for an Investigative Release Form. The request must also be filed within eight years of the event.

Court records in Maryland are not automatically expunged. If a resident was arrested and charged with a crime that included a prison term or if he or she was charged with a civil offense that replaced a criminal charge, then court records for the incident may still exist. Residents can petition to have their court records expunged if they were found not guilty; if the charge was dismissed; if they were given probation before any judgment; if the prosecutor chose not to prosecute; or if the case was postponed indefinitely or settled out of court.

The waiting period to file a petition for an expungement can differ. If the petition to expunge is based on either a dismissal, an acquittal or if the prosecution chose not to go forward with any charges, then the individual may file the petition for expungement after three years. If the person's petition is based on a guilty verdict for a specified nuisance crime, that individual must wait the longer of three years after being convicted or after completing their sentence, including any probation.

Source: www.mdcourts.gov, "Expungement", Accessed June 21, 2015

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