How To Access and Remove Maryland Criminal Records
Maryland criminal records, which are often public, provide a variety of information on an individual’s criminal history. Learn more here.
Are Maryland Criminal Records Public?
A criminal record in Maryland is a file that documents someone’s criminal history. It includes info put together from different departments along with district courts, circuit courts, as well as correctional facilities throughout the state.
Criminal records are public records in the State of Maryland. That means practically anyone, including private individuals, companies, universities, and public interest groups, can inspect or gain access to someone’s records in compliance with the Maryland Public Information Act.
In addition to the pending charges and the criminal act itself, a criminal record also includes the individual’s full name and date of birth, physical description, photograph, and pending charges.
On the other hand, court records are, in most cases, public records. However, court records regarding adoption, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, income tax returns, and similar records can’t be accessed without a court order.
A competent Maryland attorney such as Morgan E. Leigh can help you or your loved one if you are facing criminal charges in Baltimore city circuit court or anywhere in Maryland. She is experienced in several practice areas and can handle your case related to land records and criminal records, and offer a piece of legal advice. Schedule a free consultation, and rest assured that your rights will be protected.
How Can You Access Maryland Judiciary Criminal Records?
There are two ways to get public access to a Maryland court record: going to the courthouse where the case was heard or electronically.
If you are going to the courthouse, let the clerk know the case number of the court record you would like to access. If you don’t have the official case number, the clerk might have the ability to find the paper records file by using the names of the individuals involved. You can also request a copy of the court record, but have in mind that there is a fee for copies.
Some court records can also be accessed electronically (computerized records) through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search. These records include general information about the case, including the court case number, type of case, charge, and trial date. You can search these records by the defendant’s name. If you need additional information, you have to request it at the courthouse, where the case was heard in person or in writing.
The Case Search system contains detailed case information for all Maryland courts, including Circuit Court and District Court cases. However, the system should not be used for background checks. A criminal background check should be done using the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
In addition, the Maryland State Archives also contains many court records and criminal case records, depending on what each county has transferred to archives.
Court records can be complicated and confusing, but a skillful Maryland criminal lawyer can help. Whether the court record you need is with the Maryland State Archives or with one of Maryland’s courts, a qualified attorney can point you in the right direction and advise the best course of action.
Criminal Records Search: Which Records Are Available?
Criminal records available through Case Search include Maryland District Court records such as traffic, criminal, and civil records, as well as Circuit Court criminal and civil records. However, the amount of data may vary by jurisdiction.
Serious traffic violations such as multiple DUIs, reckless driving, vehicle manslaughter, or driving while your license is suspended can lead to a criminal record. But, even a first-time DUI conviction can result in a criminal record. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced Maryland DUI lawyer by your side who can develop a strategy that will work best for your case.
If a person is convicted of a sex crime in Maryland, such as prostitution or solicitation, and the victim is a minor, the law requires that the individual must be registered as a sex offender. Residents of the State of Maryland can obtain this information by searching the sex offender registry, which is maintained by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.
When an individual is charged with any criminal offense, including a sex offense, the situation can be incredibly difficult. It’s important to hire a criminal defense lawyer who has experience practicing in the court you have been charged in and who is prepared to aggressively fight for your rights.
How Do You Look Up Someone’s Maryland Public Criminal Records?
The Maryland Public Information Act provides people broad access to public records, although the state does impose certain limits to protect governmental interests. Criminal records may be obtained through courts, police departments, and the Maryland State Records Online Database.
A criminal record can remain on Case Search indefinitely. Records are not removed unless there is a court order for removing them, like expungement.
How to Remove Maryland Criminal Court Records
There are different ways to keep the public from seeing records in your court case:
- Submit a motion to seal or limit public access to a court record, or
- Petition for shielding a court record under the Maryland Second Chance Act.
If you want to seal or otherwise limit access to your record, you have to prove that there is a compelling reason for that. After filing the motion with the District Court or Circuit Court that heard your case and notifying all parties involved in the case, the judge will review the motion. If the motion demands more consideration, the court will schedule a hearing.
If the court decides you are eligible, the court may prevent or limit public access to the record. However, a judge can also deny your motion.
Only convictions for certain crimes are eligible for shielding. However, you may file a petition with only one court, which means you have to choose between the Circuit Court and District Court. Also, you can only file this petition in one county, but you may include all convictions that are eligible for shielding.
Bear in mind that three years have to pass after completing any sentence, including parole, probation, or mandatory supervision, before you may submit a request. If you are eligible, the court may grant your petition, but you only get one shielding petition during your lifetime. In addition, shielding doesn’t mean your record is deleted; this procedure only removes your court and police records from public view.
Removing criminal records from public view can be complex, and the law can change at any time. Discussing your case with a qualified criminal defense attorney is absolutely necessary to ensure your rights are protected. Contact Morgan E. Leigh today for a full case evaluation.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your Criminal Records Check
There is another way to remove your criminal record from the public view, and that is to get your records expunged. In Maryland, records may be expunged from police files, court files, and Motor Vehicle Administration files. Each process removes specific files and has to be done through the appropriate agency, and you may need the help of a qualified attorney.
If you have been arrested but not charged, as well as accused of a crime but not convicted, your case may be eligible for expungement. Usually, you have to wait three years before your case can be eligible for expungement unless you can prove there is a good cause for a court to approve your case expungement sooner.
Your case might be eligible for expungement even if you were convicted for certain felonies or misdemeanor crimes. However, you have to wait for several years after completing your sentence before filing for expungement.
Although you don’t need a lawyer to access public records, you may need legal help for understanding court terms and definitions. As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Morgan E. Leigh can help and answer all of your questions. Her years of experience in the Maryland criminal justice system allow her to pursue the most beneficial results on behalf of her clients. Contact our office today for a free consultation.
Maryland Record Expungement FAQs
How to Get My Record Expunged in Maryland?
In Maryland, you can quickly expunge your criminal records, but you have to meet specific criteria to be eligible for expungement. For example, an arrest that didn’t lead to a conviction can be easily expunged after three years. For expungement of your misdemeanor records, you can file for expungement only after ten years of the sentence.
Moreover, for felony charges, you can file for expungement only after fifteen years after the end of your sentence period. If you meet the criteria, you can file for expungement based on these time-bound requirements. However, for expungement of a juvenile record, you must be of eighteen years or old, a year has passed since your case ended, and you have paid the fine, penalty, or restitution. Moreover, another requirement is ‘you must not be involved in any other conviction or crime.’
How to Search Arrest Records in Maryland?
You don’t have to visit the police department to search for an arrest record. In Maryland, the arrest records are being handled by courts and law enforcement agencies. These arrest records contain the charge, name of the arrested person and their contact details, the person in charge of arrest, and their details. However, it doesn’t include any detail of whether the arrest led to a conviction or not.
How to Find Sex Offenders in Maryland?
Maryland Department of Correction governs a directory where all sex offenders are registered. After agreeing to terms and conditions, this directory is publicly available for anyone to access.
What is a Felony?
Unlike other states, a felony in Maryland can be sentenced to serving time in a local jail without going through state prison. There are various types of felony offense charges with their respective sentence guidelines. Based on your charges, case facts, and judge’s choice. For example, if you are being charged for burglary in Maryland, you could have prison sentences for a year to twenty years.
What is a Misdemeanor in Maryland?
A misdemeanor is minor wrongdoing committed by a person. It is less severe than a felony, but its sentence can also lead to prison for ten to twenty years. Some common misdemeanors in Maryland include vandalism, prostitution, and second-degree assault.
How to Find Someone’s Parole Status in Maryland?
Maryland Parole Commission is the body that manages the parole statutes, hearings, and management. This agency is also issuing arrest warrants. So, if you want to check someone’s parole status, go to the Maryland Parole Commission directly.