Bethesda Expungement Lawyer
Even if you are not convicted after being charged with a crime, the fact that you had to go to court and face criminal proceedings will still be visible in your state-maintained records moving forward. This means other people performing background checks could see your history with the criminal system, which in turn could lead to unwanted consequences in your personal and professional life—all because of a case that did not even end with a conviction.
Fortunately, it is possible to get records related to certain types of criminal cases “expunged” from publicly viewable records, as an experienced defense attorney could affirm. If you want to explore whether this might be possible in your situation, contact a Bethesda expungement lawyer to discuss your legal options.
When Is Expungement Possible in Bethesda?
For the most part, expungement of court and police records in Maryland is meant for people who went through criminal proceedings but did not plead guilty and were not ultimately adjudicated guilty—although there are some exceptions noted below. Anyone whose case had any of the following outcomes may be eligible to apply for expungement:
- Acquittal or a not-guilty finding
- Dismissal of the charge(s)
- “Nolle prosequi,” which means the prosecutor dropped the charge(s) either before or during trial
- Indefinite postponement on the “stet docket”
- Transfer to juvenile court after the case began in adult court
- A finding of “Not Criminally Responsible” for an offense like loitering, drinking in a public place, vagrancy, panhandling, or riding public transit without paying
- Probation Before Judgement (PBJ)
It is also worth noting that records for a case involving any of the following will be automatically expunged three years after the case concludes, with limited exceptions:
- Civil marijuana possession offense
- Traffic violation with mandatory court appearance
- Criminal charge that ends with dismissal, acquittal, a not-guilty finding, or a nolle prosequi
Additionally, certain convictions may be eligible for expungement three, 10, or 15 years after the verdict is passed down, as a well-practiced Bethesda expungement attorney could further explain.
Restrictions on Expunging Certain Records
Regardless of whether they meet any of the criteria mentioned above, no person currently going through criminal proceedings in Bethesda can apply to have any criminal records expunged, even if those records are completely unrelated to their ongoing case. In a similar vein, someone convicted of another criminal offense within three years of receiving a PBJ is not eligible to have that case expunged, nor is anyone who receives a PBJ for certain DUI offenses.
Perhaps most importantly, Maryland courts follow a “Unit” rule for expungement which holds that a person charged with multiple offenses based on a single incident cannot seek expungement for any of those offenses if any one of them are considered non-expungable. For instance, if someone is convicted on one charge but acquitted of two years from the same situation, they could not have records related to their acquittals expunged until—or unless—their conviction becomes eligible for expungement. A knowledgeable expungement lawyer in Bethesda could clarify during a private meeting what options might be available in a particular situation.
A Bethesda Expungement Attorney Could Help You Move Forward with Your Life
Getting your criminal record expunged can be vital to protecting your long-term interests and moving on proactively from a past encounter with the criminal justice system. However, there are numerous rules and restrictions on this process, and getting a positive result from it can be extremely difficult without a seasoned legal professional’s guidance.
Working with a Bethesda expungement lawyer could substantially improve your chances of building a strong petition and obtaining the outcome you want. Learn more by calling today.