Felonies, misdemeanors and the expungement process in Maryland

Felonies, misdemeanors and the expungement process in Maryland

Living with a felony can seem like a life sentence, even if you’re
not in prison. It affects every aspect of your life, from social and personal
relationships to career choices and opportunities.

If you’ve been living with a felony, you might be asking yourself
if you could succeed at getting it expunged. It’s true that felony
convictions and arrests can look bad when you apply to jobs or for housing,
and many argue it can hold you back, even when many years have passed
since the arrest or conviction.

That fact is not lost on the government in Maryland, and new state laws
put into effect in September 2015 allowed minor charges to be removed
from offenders’ records, allowing them to get better jobs and do
better overall. The new laws opened up a number of avenues for having
charges expunged, and some were able to hide misdemeanor convictions.

While not all felonies are considered to be minor crimes, non-violent offenses
may have a better chance of being expunged. Those who are able to prevent
a charge from becoming a felony, for example, by getting a misdemeanor
instead, would benefit by potentially being able to have the charge expunged
in the future.

Even if a felony does result, there may be steps you can take to limit
the length of time the felony stays on your record, so you can get back
to living your life. A criminal defense attorney can provide you with
more information about your charges, such as the possible penalties and
the possible defense options you may have.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “New state laws to help Marylanders clear arrest records,” accessed Aug. 16, 2016