In Maryland, those who are charged for minor crimes may still suffer the
scrutiny of the public. For instance, if you are a teen or young adult
and are caught
driving while drunk, you could lose your job and have a negative record for much of your future.
In some cases, there were few ways to eliminate the records from public
searches, making it possible for anyone to see your background and criminal history.
Today, legislators in Maryland are aiming to reduce the severity of the
punishments on those with minor criminal records, so they can more easily
find houses, jobs, and get an education. There are currently several bills
being written or submitted that could help build up Maryland’s laws
on expungement, which would allow some minor crimes to be blocked from
disclosure. This means that employers, rental companies and others would
no longer be able to find out about that one past crime that could hinder
a person’s future.
In 2015, there were bills such as the Second Chance Act approved in the
state. This act allows those with nonviolent misdemeanors to request the
records be eliminated from public access. Others may also have offenses
that are no longer crimes, like the possession of marijuana in limited
amounts, removed from their records.
In any situation where you face a misdemeanor, it’s important to
protect your rights and to take all the steps possible to prevent your conviction. Your attorney
can help you do so, but if the case still results in your being convicted
of a crime, now you have a chance to have it removed at a later date.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Maryland legislators to consider ways to clean slate for offenders,” Michael Dresser, Jan. 03, 2016