Maryland Criminal Defense Law Firm
We live in an era where everyone’s record is truly public. This is problematic from a general privacy standpoint, but it is especially troublesome if you have been convicted of a crime. In many cases, the sentence associated with a crime itself is less of a burden than a lifetime of having the conviction stuck on one’s record. Even a conviction for common, non-violent offenses like drug possession can make it much harder to get hired for a job, get approved for housing, get accepted into college or qualify for student financial aid.
If you have a criminal conviction in your past, the reassuring news is that it may not always need to impact your future. Most states have laws allowing you to remove eligible past convictions from public view through a process called expungement. This is also sometimes referred to as expunction or having your criminal records “under seal.” An experienced criminal defense lawyer Rockville, MD residents trust can help you determine whether your situation is eligible for expungement.
What Are the Practical Results of Expungement?
Once completed, the expungement process essentially removes a conviction from your criminal record. If a potential employer conducts a background check, the conviction will likely not appear. Moreover, when asked (on an application) if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can answer “no.”
Your record will be gone from public view, but law enforcement will likely still be able to see it. If you commit future offenses for which you are convicted, the expunged crime could still be a consideration in sentencing or other consequences. Additionally, expungement also cannot address web search results from non-government sources. If you were arrested for DUI, for instance, and your arrest was reported in the newspaper, someone searching your name online would likely be able to find a copy of the story. However, it is an option worth considering because removing a conviction from your official record can be helpful in a number of ways, including making it more difficult for others to unearth your past discretions. If you are unsure of whether it makes sense to go through the “trouble” of expunging your record in the digital age, the experienced Maryland criminal defense law firm of the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can advise you after learning more about your unique situation.
How Do You Qualify For Expungement?
You must be eligible before you can apply for expungement, and the requirements vary by the state and/or county you live in. Generally speaking, eligibility depends on:
- What type of crime was committed
- Your other criminal history
- Whether you have completed your sentence and stayed out of trouble since then
- How much time has passed since conviction
Certain states don’t allow expungement at all. Other states have rules and requirements that can vary widely. Our Maryland criminal defense law firm can explain how Maryland law may specifically impact your eligibility for expungement.
Get Help from an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Like most procedures in the criminal justice system, expungement can be lengthy, bureaucratic, and full of paperwork. For this and other reasons, it is a good idea to seek the help of an experienced Maryland criminal defense law firm before committing to a course of action one way or another. If you are considering applying for expungement and want to better understand your legal options, contact our firm to discuss the process in greater detail and to get case-specific guidance and support.