Washington County Expungement Lawyer
Residents of Maryland who were previously convicted of minor criminal offenses may be eligible to have their record “expunged,” provided they meet specific criteria and complete the proper legal procedures. Once the expungement process is complete, all records of the pending charge or past conviction in question are destroyed forever, meaning that it will not show up on background checks undertaken by banks, housing providers, or prospective employers.
Even if you qualify for expungement on paper, getting through this process in practice can be tricky without guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. Enlisting the guidance of a Washington County expungement lawyer could be the first and most crucial step towards restoring your future prospects and moving on completely from past mistakes.
When Is Expungement Possible in Washington County?
According to Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure §§10-101 et seq., expungement is only possible under the following circumstances:
- The petitioner’s criminal record existed before July 1, 1975
- The petitioner was convicted of only a single non-violent offense, or a single offense considered a “Transportation” or “Nuisance Crimes” violation
- The petitioner was arrested and/or detained by law enforcement on suspicion of committing a crime, but was never actually charged
- The petitioner formally stood accused of a crime, but the case ended in a nolle prosequi decision—in other words, the State chose not to prosecute
- The petitioner was charged with a crime but was acquitted in court or pardoned by the state Governor
- The petitioner avoided criminal sanctions for a drug or alcohol-related offense by successfully undergoing rehabilitation
Additional requirements may apply depending on the situation. For instance, people convicted of certain “nuisance crimes” cannot pursue expungement until three years after completing whatever sentence or probation term they receive. The same time limit affects people given probation before judgment, beginning from when probation is granted or discharged. During a confidential consultation, a Washington County expungement attorney could assess and discuss whether a particular individual might be eligible for record expungement.
The Expungement Process
The expungement process in Washington County begins with the petitioner filling out and filing the Petition for Expungement of Records based on the grounds on which they will base their petition. They must also complete a General Waiver and Release if they are pursuing expungement less than three years after a final decision was made in the relevant case. In most situations, petitioners must also pay a $30 filing fee.
If the State’s Attorney has no objection to an expungement petition within 30 days of receiving a copy, that court may order the requested expungement. If the State’s Attorney does object, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether expungement is appropriate. An expungement attorney serving Washington County could provide irreplaceable assistance during the filing process and any ensuing court hearings.
Learn More From a Washington County Expungement Attorney Today
Expungement of past criminal records can be crucial to overcoming past legal trouble. Unfortunately, this process is complex, time-consuming, and holds no guarantee of a positive outcome. Without a qualified legal professional’s help, your chances of achieving the result you want from this proceeding may be slim.
Fortunately, that assistance is available from a dedicated Washington County expungement lawyer. Call our firm today to discuss your legal options with a compassionate defense attorney.