Skip to content


Expungement

When your Maryland criminal or traffic case is over, you may not want a future employer or other prying eyes to see the charges on your record. If you received a stet or a disposition of probation before judgment more than three years ago, or if your case did not result in a conviction, I can often expunge your record for you. Even if you are not eligible for expungement, I may be able to reverse your conviction or change the disposition of your case so that you are eligible for expungement.

There are seven potential outcomes to each criminal charge in Maryland. The state could refuse to prosecute your case and drop the charges against you, which is called a nolle prosequi or a nol pros. Your case could be dismissed by the court. Your case could be transferred to juvenile court. You could plea not guilty, and be found not guilty, which is also known as an acquittal. Your case could be postponed indefinitely and put on the stet docket, which is called a stet. You could plead guilty or no contest, or be found guilty, but rather than entering a finding of guilt the court may choose to place you on Probation Before Judgment, sometimes referred to as a ‘PBJ’. You could also plead guilty or no contest, or be found guilty, and the court actually enters a judgment of guilty.

Of these seven, the only one that I cannot generally expunge without changing the disposition is the last one, when you plea or are found guilty and the court actually enters a finding of guilt, and even that can be expunged after three years for certain nuisance offenses, or if you are pardoned. If you would like to apply for a pardon, I can help. I can also sometimes shield findings of guilt from being viewed by the public.

Even if you are not eligible for expungement now, I might be able to change the disposition in your case and make you eligible for expungement later.

Expungement and Charge Outcomes

  • Arrested, But not Charged: Expungement is available immediately.
  • Nolle Prosequi: Expungement is available immediately.
  • Dismissed: Expungement is available immediately, unless the dismissal was due to a § 3-207 compromise of an assault charge.
    • If an assault charge is dismissed due to a § 3-207 compromise between the victim and the defendant, expungement is available after three years, but can sometimes be accomplished earlier.
  • Transferred to Juvenile Court: Expungement is available immediately.
  • Not Guilty or Acquittal: Expungement is available immediately.
  • Stet: Expungement is available after the later of three years or completion of your sentence, but can sometimes be accomplished earlier.
  • Probation Before Judgment (PBJ): Expungement is generally available after the later of three years or completion of your sentence, and can sometimes be accomplished earlier.
    • Expungement is not available if you receive Probation Before Judgment for DUI, DWI, or other similar offenses related to operating a vehicle while impaired.
  • Guilty: Expungement is not generally available, but:
    • Expungement is possible if you were found guilty of a crime, but the act on which the conviction was based is no longer a crime.
    • Expungement is sometimes possible if you are found guilty but later pardoned.
    • Expungement is available if you are found guilty of certain public nuisance offenses after the later of three years or completion of your sentence, but can sometimes be accomplished earlier. These expungeable public nuisance offenses include:
      • public urination or defecation in a public place,
      • panhandling or soliciting,
      • drinking alcohol in a public place,
      • obstructing the passage of others in a public place or conveyance,
      • sleeping in a park, loitering, vagrancy, riding a transit vehicle without payment or proof of payment, and
      • committing a number of other acts that are not allowed in a transit vehicle or facility.
    • It is possible to shield certain minor misdemeanors, which is not the same thing as expungement, but can have a similar effect. These offenses include:

Expungement is not available in cases with a disposition of probation before judgment which are earlier than the disposition of another case where you are found guilty on a charge other than a non-incarcerable traffic offense which cannot itself be expunged. Expungement is also not available while you have any pending criminal matters, aside from non-incarcerable traffic offenses.

Traffic violations which do not carry a potential penalty of incarceration cannot be expunged, but they do not bar the expungement of other charges in the same case or in any other case, even if a judgment of guilty is entered. These citations can generally be prepaid via mail and do not require you to appear in court. If you are cited for something more serious along with a traffic violation which by itself would not require a court appearance, expungement is available for the more serious charges.

Not everything can be expunged, but many things can. Don’t leave it up to chance – multiple agencies can be involved. There are also legal subtleties which cannot be included in a brief summary. I can handle the process for you, ensure that the records are actually expunged by the proper agencies, and represent you at any expungement hearings. Call (301) 556-8709 so that we can start cleaning up your record today.