For those dealing with criminal charges, the hope is that (should their cases result in convictions) their challenges might end when they complete the punitive actions a judge assigns to them. However, that is often not the case. Indeed, they may begin to encounter an entirely new set of difficulties.
A criminal conviction can make it difficult to find a job, enjoy certain civil liberties or even secure housing. Thus, having such a conviction expunged from a criminal record is a benefit that those who may qualify for it will certainly want to pursue.
Expungement of a federal criminal offense
Can those convicted of a federal criminal offense have that record expunged? Per the Restoration of Rights Project, there is no federal statute regulating the expunction of offenses. So, federal courts determine the merits of expungement on a case-by-case basis. Past rulings establish a standard that some courts may have the right to expunge records of criminal offenses where convictions arose due to administrative or clerical errors, or in cases where the prosecuting authority does not object to an expunction.
Maryland’s expungement laws
According to the website for the Maryland Judiciary, someone seeking an expungement may qualify for it in the following scenarios:
- The action from which a conviction arose is no longer a crime
- A conviction arose from an offense for a nuisance crime or marijuana possession
- A conviction relates to only certain types of misdemeanors and felonies
For offenses resolved through an acquittal or dismissal, expungement becomes available three years after the disposition. Similarly, offenses resolved through a disposition of probation before judgment become eligible for expunction three years from the granting or discharge of probation. For someone found guilty (or not criminally responsible for an offense), eligibility for expungement also begins three years following a case’s disposition.