Who Can See Expunged Records in Maryland?
In the state of Maryland, expungement is a legal process that allows individuals to have certain criminal records removed or sealed from public view. This can be a crucial step in rebuilding one’s life after a past mistake or wrongful accusation. However, it’s important to understand who can see expunged records in Maryland and what limitations exist even after the records have been expunged.
Expungement Process in Maryland
Before delving into who can see expunged records, it’s essential to understand the expungement process in Maryland. Eligibility for expungement varies depending on the type of offense and outcome of the case. Generally, individuals who have been arrested but not charged, acquitted of charges, or had their charges dismissed or nolle prossed are eligible to apply for expungement.
To initiate the expungement process in Maryland, individuals must file a petition with the court in the jurisdiction where the case was prosecuted. The petition must include specific details about the case, including the charges, dispositions, and any supporting documents. After filing the petition, a hearing may be scheduled, and the court will review the case to determine if it meets the criteria for expungement.
Who Can See Expunged Records?
Once a criminal record has been expunged in Maryland, it is generally no longer available for public view. This means that potential employers, landlords, and the general public should not be able to access or view the expunged records. However, there are certain entities that may still have access to these records, including:
1. Law Enforcement Agencies: While the general public may not have access to expunged records, law enforcement agencies can still access and view these records. This is particularly relevant during subsequent investigations or criminal proceedings, as expunged records may still be relevant for law enforcement purposes.
2. State and Federal Agencies: Certain state and federal agencies may also have access to expunged records. This includes agencies involved in background checks for employment purposes or licensing boards that require a thorough review of an individual’s criminal history.
3. Certain Employers: Some employers may be granted access to expunged records in certain circumstances. For example, government agencies and positions that require security clearances may be able to request access to expunged records during the hiring process.
4. Criminal Justice System: Expunged records may still be accessible within the criminal justice system itself. This includes prosecutors, judges, and other relevant parties involved in subsequent criminal proceedings.
Q: Will an expunged record show up on a background check?
A: In most cases, an expunged record should not appear on a standard background check conducted by employers or landlords. However, certain entities, such as law enforcement agencies and some government agencies, may still have access to these records.
Q: Can I deny the existence of an expunged record?
A: Generally, individuals who have had their records expunged can legally deny the existence of those records. However, there may be exceptions when dealing with certain government agencies or positions that require security clearances.
Q: Can expunged records be used against me?
A: Expunged records are typically sealed from public view and should not be used against you in most situations. However, there may be instances where law enforcement or the criminal justice system can still reference these records in certain legal proceedings.
Q: Can I request the removal of an expunged record from a background check?
A: If you believe that an expunged record is still being improperly reported on a background check, you have the right to dispute the information and request its removal. This can typically be done by contacting the reporting agency and providing proof of the expungement.
Expungement offers individuals in Maryland the opportunity to move forward without the burden of a criminal record. While the general public should not have access to expunged records, certain entities such as law enforcement agencies, state and federal agencies, and some employers may still be able to view these records. It’s important to understand the limitations and exceptions surrounding expunged records to ensure one’s rights and privacy are protected.