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Are DUI Charges Public in Maryland?
For individuals who have never been charged with a criminal offense in Maryland before, the prospect of a criminal record can be frightening. We are commonly asked whether DUI charges become public, how accessible they are to the public, and how quickly this happens. Below we discuss how public DUI charges can be in Maryland.
DUI Charges and Public Records
People often ask me whether DUI charges in Maryland can become public, and how quickly it takes for an arrest and charges to be public record. It can become public right away. It is information that can go on to a website, on the Maryland case search website, within hours or sometimes within a few days, and, yes, it’s public record. Once a person is charged with a crime in the state of Maryland, or in any state, if they’re over the age of 18, it can become public almost immediately. Certainly, that is another reason that somebody can and should be speaking to an attorney right away, because, if you have obligations to your employer to disclose an arrest or a charge of some kind, you certainly don’t want to risk your employment, security clearances and things like that, by hiding the ball and not knowing that they may be able to find out about this stuff, even if you don’t come clean and tell them right away.
Unfortunately, there are public records of this information, and, when it comes to DUIs, particularly, these public records are actually never eligible for expungement. So, when you’ve been charged with a DUI, you can bet that it’s going to be in a public system for pretty much the rest of your life, unless there are special circumstances—and I’m talking about very, very special circumstances, that would warrant the governor or some very, very high level of authority in the state agreeing to having it expunged from the system.
Steps You Can Take To Mitigate the DUI Charge
So, the first thing that a person needs to do is really get on the phone with a defense attorney, as soon as possible. That way, there is somebody is there to walk them through the process and explain some of these things. Immediately after a DUI, the process can become very confusing. Somebody walking away from a DUI can end up with 10 to 15 sheets of paper in their hand, when they leave the police station. It’s all very overwhelming and complex. It’s all very specific. All the documents are packed with legal jargon that most people would not and, frankly, should not be able to understand unless they have an attorney by their side, who is assisting them in understanding them.
So, it’s important that action is taken right away, that night, if not the following morning, to make sure that they have someone qualified counseling them through the process.”