What Felonies Cannot Be Expunged in Maryland?
Having a felony conviction on your record can have long-lasting consequences, impacting your ability to find employment, secure housing, or obtain certain licenses or certifications. In Maryland, individuals with a criminal record may have the opportunity to expunge or seal their records, effectively clearing their name and giving them a fresh start. However, not all felonies are eligible for expungement. In this article, we will explore the felonies that cannot be expunged in Maryland and address some frequently asked questions about the expungement process.
Felonies that Cannot be Expunged in Maryland:
1. Crimes of Violence: Any felony conviction classified as a crime of violence cannot be expunged. This includes offenses such as murder, manslaughter, assault, rape, robbery, and kidnapping. These crimes are considered severe and pose a substantial risk to public safety, making them ineligible for expungement.
2. Sexual Offenses: Felony convictions related to sexual offenses cannot be expunged. This includes crimes like rape, child molestation, sexual assault, and possession or distribution of child pornography. Maryland law recognizes the gravity of these offenses and their potential to cause harm, thus barring their expungement.
3. Driving Under the Influence (DUI): While DUI offenses are typically misdemeanors, multiple DUI convictions can elevate the charge to a felony. Felony DUIs cannot be expunged, as they are deemed serious offenses that put lives at risk due to impaired driving.
4. Felony Convictions Involving Minors: Any felony conviction that involves the abuse, neglect, or harm of a minor cannot be expunged. These offenses include child abuse, child endangerment, and child pornography-related offenses. Maryland law prioritizes the protection of children, making these convictions ineligible for expungement.
5. Felonies Involving Firearms: Felony convictions related to the illegal possession, use, or sale of firearms cannot be expunged. These offenses include armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm, or any other crime committed with the use of a firearm. Given the potential danger associated with these offenses, expungement is not an option.
Frequently Asked Questions about Expungement in Maryland:
Q: Can I expunge a felony conviction if I received a pardon from the Governor?
A: No, even if you have received a pardon from the Governor, a felony conviction cannot be expunged in Maryland.
Q: How long do I have to wait before I can apply for expungement?
A: The waiting period for expungement varies depending on the offense. For most felonies, you must wait 15 years after completing your sentence, including probation and parole, before you become eligible to apply for expungement.
Q: Can I expunge multiple felony convictions?
A: If you have multiple felony convictions, you may be able to expunge them if they are part of a single case, or if they are unrelated offenses and meet the eligibility criteria for expungement.
Q: Can employers or educational institutions access expunged records?
A: No, once your record has been expunged, it is legally deemed as non-existent. Employers and educational institutions should not be able to access or consider expunged records during background checks.
Q: Can I expunge a felony charge that was dropped or dismissed?
A: Yes, if you were charged with a felony but the case was dropped, dismissed, or resulted in an acquittal, you are eligible to apply for expungement. However, if you were convicted of another offense related to the same incident, the eligibility for expungement may be affected.
In conclusion, while expungement offers individuals with criminal records in Maryland the opportunity for a fresh start, not all felonies are eligible for this process. Crimes of violence, sexual offenses, felony DUIs, offenses involving minors, and felonies involving firearms cannot be expunged due to their severity and potential harm. Understanding the limitations and requirements of expungement can help individuals navigate the process effectively and make informed decisions regarding their future.