Frederick County Expungement Lawyer
Your police and court records, including arrests that did not result in criminal convictions, are accessible to the public. This potentially ruinous information can be viewed by potential employers, landlords, and others, adversely affect your ability to obtain housing, employment, and even financial services like loans. If you have a criminal record, a skilled Frederick County expungement lawyer could review your record to determine if any arrests, charges, or convictions are eligible for expungement.
Expungement could make it possible to have certain items removed from your police or court record. For eligible items to be expunged, a petition must be filed with the appropriate law enforcement agency or court. A criminal defense lawyer who understands how to complete a petition for expungement could ensure the required paperwork is completed and filed correctly, potentially cleaning your record so you can move on with your life.
Expungement vs. Shielding in Frederick County
Expungement and shielding are two methods for limiting the ability of others to view certain items on an individual’s criminal record. Items that are expunged from a criminal record are completely removed from it, visible to no public, private or law enforcement agency.
Shielding differs from expungement in that, first, shielding is done for non-criminal cases, such as civil protection and peace orders. Second, although shielded items are removed from the general public view, law enforcement officers and other select criminal justice professionals or agencies can still view the case and its filings. A Frederick County expungement attorney could help strategically plan what might be shielded, expunged, or is ineligible for either.
Legal Reasons for Requesting Expungement
Expungement of a specific criminal offense, civil offense, violation, or infraction can be requested under several circumstances in Frederick County. Some of the legal reasons for requesting expungement of criminal records includes:
- Acquittal of the charge(s)
- The charge was dismissed or quashed
- A nolle prosequi (the prosecution dropped the charges) or stet was entered
- The case was dismissed or compromised
- A probation before judgment was entered
- The individual was found not criminally responsible
- The offense is no longer a crime
For the above situations, the charge is either expungeable immediately or there is a minimum of three years that must have passed before a petition for expungement can be submitted. Additionally, even if a valid legal reason for requesting expungement exists, the petition might still be denied if other conditions or requirements are not met. Depending on the particular offense, violation, or infraction, expungement may, or may not be available, but an attorney experienced in handling expungement cases could help explain a petitioner’s position.
Petitioning for Expungement in Frederick County
Petitioning for expungement in Frederick County involves completing and submitting the appropriate form. There is a separate form for requesting expungement of records with a guilty disposition versus other dispositions such as acquittal, dismissal, or nolle prosequi. In addition to the correct petition form, a general waiver and release form must also be submitted in some cases.
All forms must be filed with the clerk of the appropriate court. Additional copies of the petition for expungement should also be included at the time of filing as they will be sent to the State’s Attorney and any law enforcement agency identified in the petition. There is occasionally a filing fee for submitting petitions involving expungement of guilty records, but no fee is necessary for requesting expungement of other types of records.
The expungement process usually lasts for at least 90 days or more, beginning with the date the petition was filed. An expungement attorney in Frederick County could handle the process of petitioning for expungement of a criminal record.
Contact a Frederick County Expungement Attorney
A Frederick County expungement lawyer could help you through the process of petitioning for expungement. Your legal counsel could help identify items on your record that are potentially eligible for expungement, complete the appropriate petition form, and submit it to the correct court on your behalf.
With an attorney on your side, you could give yourself a better chance at a positive outcome. Contact a Frederick County expungement attorney for assistance with your petition for expungement. By having some of these legal issues removed from your public, or even private record, the course of your entire life could change. Call now to get started.