Usually, the verdict or outcome of your case determines whether specific records can be expunged. It does not matter whether your case was a misdemeanor or a felony. Learn more about expungement.
- Possible outcomes include dispositions other than guilty (including not guilty, dismissed, PBJ, etc.) or a guilty verdict.
Expungement Series: Favorable Disposition from the Maryland Courts
Expungement Series: Probation Before Judgment from the Maryland Courts
- There are certain exceptions where your record may not be expunged.
- Some records are automatically expunged after 3 years. Learn more.
- Be aware of the Unit Rule and how it may affect your request for an expungement.
- Cannabis possession convictions may be expunged immediately. Learn more.
Generally, you may file for expungement of records relating to a criminal charge if the case ended with:
You were acquitted (found not guilty)
Your charge was dismissed
You received Probation Before Judgment (except for certain alcohol-related driving offenses)
A Nolle Prosequi (“Noll Pros”) was entered in your case (This is when the prosecutor decides to drop the case either before or during trial.)
Your case was placed on the “stet docket” (indefinitely postponed)
Moved to Juvenile Court
Your case was started in adult court but was moved to juvenile court. If you were initially charged as an adult and your case was transferred to juvenile court, you have two records—a criminal record and a juvenile record. There is a different procedure to follow to expunge a juvenile record.
Not Criminally Responsible
You were found Not Criminally Responsible for one of these charges:
If you were found guilty of one of these charges you may request an expungement no less than 3 years after the guilty conviction or the satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later:
- urination or defecation in a public place,
- panhandling or soliciting money,
- drinking an alcoholic beverage in a public place,
- obstructing the free passage of another in a public place or a public conveyance,
- sleeping on or in park structures, such as benches or doorways,
- riding a transit vehicle without paying the applicable fare or exhibiting proof of payment, or
- certain other transportation charges (Md. Code, Transportation § 7-705).
If you were found guilty of possession of cannabis with intent to distribute (Md. Code, Criminal Law § 5-602), you may request an expungement no less than 3 years after the satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation.
If you were found guilty of one of these charges you may request an expungement no less than 10 years after the guilty conviction or the satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later:
- disorderly intoxication,
- possessing a controlled dangerous substance (CDS),
- use or possession of drug paraphernalia,
- unauthorized manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of a CDS by certain authorized providers (such as medical professionals),
- certain burglary, trespass, and other property crimes,
- breaking and entering a motor vehicle,
- general theft (Md. Code, Criminal Law § 7-104),
- littering and illegal dumping, or
- disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.
If you were found guilty of one of these charges you may request an expungement no less than 15 years after the guilty conviction or the satisfactory completion of the sentence, including probation, whichever is later:
- assault in the second degree,
- violation of an interim peace order,
- failure to comply with a protective order,
- felony theft,
- possession with intent to distribute or dispense a controlled dangerous substance, or
- burglary in the first, second or third degree.
This is not an exhaustive list. For a complete list of crimes eligible for expungement please see this page.
Read the law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-110
Expungement Series: Guilty Disposition from the Maryland Courts
Exceptions: Are there situations where you CANNOT file for expungement?
In certain cases, you generally cannot get records expunged.
If you received a PBJ, and you were later convicted of a new crime within 3 years of the PBJ, you cannot get the PBJ case expunged. However, if the new conviction was for a minor traffic violation or for an action that is now no longer a crime, the new conviction will not prevent you from getting the PBJ expunged.
You cannot file for expungement of any records if you currently have criminal proceedings pending against you.
If you are convicted of a crime during the waiting period, you are not eligible for expungement unless the subsequent conviction becomes eligible for expungement.
You cannot get a PBJ expunged if the PBJ was for certain alcohol related driving offenses (Md. Code, Transportation § 21-902 OR Criminal Law §§ 2-503, 2-504, 2-505, or 2-506, or former Article 27, § 388A or § 388B).
A court has no authority to expunge aliases or grant an expungement in cases of identity theft.
The Unit Rule
If you were charged with more than one offense based on the same incident, transaction, or set of facts, you can only have records from that case expunged if ALL the charges from that incident are eligible for expungement.
For example, a person might be charged with three separate offenses based on the same incident. The person might be convicted of one of the three charges, and have the other two charges dropped. If the conviction is not expungeable, the person will not be able to expunge the records from the two charges that were dropped either.
The only exceptions to the Unit Rule are minor traffic violations and cannabis possession. No matter what happens with the minor traffic violation or cannabis possession, even if you are convicted of it, it will not affect your ability to get the other related records expunged.
Read the law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure 10-107