Maryland has a new law that took effect October 1, 2015 that allows people with minor criminal records to expunge or shield some criminal convictions from being public information (Maryland Criminal Procedure Section 10-301 – 10-306). Before October 1st even if a person was not guilty because the case was placed on an inactive (“stet”) docket, or had received a probation before judgment (“PBJ”), the charges remained publicly available to anyone with a computer or who visited the courthouse.
The old law could hurt and keep people with minor criminal records from getting a job. Because the records were public, employers could see those records which might affect their decision to hire someone.
Under the new law, after three years, certain criminal records are more easily expunged and/or shielded from public view. As an example, the new law allows someone to expunge their record of anything that is not technically a crime anymore, for example, possession of under 10 – 20 grams of marijuana. Those crimes were decriminalized in 2014 and 2015.
The new convictions that can be shielded under the Maryland Second Chance Act are:
If you have any questions about how to shield or expunge a criminal record, you should talk to an attorney to make sure that you are able to protect your public record to the greatest extent that the law allows.