Columbia Expungement Lawyer
Many people in Columbia erroneously believe that if they have not been convicted of a crime, they do not have a criminal record. Anyone who has been arrested for an offense may have a record that shows up when potential employers, landlords, lenders or others run a criminal background check on that person.
Even if the case was dropped, the charge usually remains unless the person charged takes affirmative steps to have the information expunged from the record. In some cases, even a person who was convicted may have that conviction expunged.
If you are uncertain how to get information expunged or whether you are eligible for expungement, it is a good idea to consult a Columbia expungement lawyer. A skilled criminal defense attorney familiar with the expungement process could offer initial advice or provide thorough representation from start to finish to help keep your record clean.
Discovering Whether a Case is Eligible for Expungement
Only certain criminal records may be expunged from a person’s record. Under the Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure §10-105, when someone has been charged with a crime punishable by jail time or charged with a civil offense or infraction, that individual may petition for expungement of the police record, court record or other records if one of the following situations applies:
- The individual was acquitted
- The charge was dismissed or a nolle prosequi was entered
- Probation before judgment was entered, with an exception for certain cases
- The criminal trial was indefinitely postponed with a “stet” marking
- The case was compromised or transferred to juvenile court
- The individual received an unconditional pardon and the crime was not violent
- The conviction involved certain minor offenses, which include possession of marijuana
- The conviction involved a crime that is no longer illegal
As a knowledgeable attorney could explain, the statute requires a waiting period before a record may be expunged in many situations. In some cases, if the individual charged executes a “General Waiver and Release” of legal claims related to the charges, they may be able to petition for expungement much sooner. The circumstances creating eligibility also dictate the applicable waiting period. A person could consult an expungement attorney in Maryland to learn if their record could be expunged.
What Expungement Accomplishes
Whenever someone in Columbia has been convicted of a criminal offense in Maryland, and even when charged and not convicted, the record of the charge stays in the system, even for many traffic offenses. When the individual charged or convicted successfully files a petition to have those records expunged, the records are removed from Maryland police and judicial files. The state also sends information to the FBI so that the information may also be removed from their records.
In the case of certain records at the state Motor Vehicle Administration, expungement may be automatic. But for records involving charges or convictions for other criminal offenses and civil infractions and violations, individuals must file a petition with the court to have the record expunged. The law specifies that in most cases, the petition should be filed in the court where the proceeding was initiated. Individuals in Columbia could speak with an experienced defense attorney to learn the benefits of pursuing expungement.
Contact a Columbia Expungement Attorney
Expungement may be able to literally wipe the record clean when you have been charged with a crime. It can even erase records of certain criminal convictions. It is important to follow the proper procedures to make the expungement process successful.
An experienced Columbia expungement lawyer may assist with determining eligibility or filing the petition for expungement. To learn how an expungement lawyer could help in your case, call now for a free consultation.