The opportunity to expunge your criminal records is a terrible thing to waste.
Your criminal record used to always be just like a diamond: forever. That sentiment, more often than not, is no longer true.
Right now, thousands upon thousands of people have Maryland cases on their criminal record that have no business being there. Why? Because people fail to realize that getting eligible cases off of their criminal record is simpler that they could ever hope.
Having a criminal case on your record, even a dismissed charge, can have a massive effect on your life. And we aren’t just thinking about your liberty and possible fines.
A criminal case can affect your:
- Immigration status, both with staying in the country and getting back in if you try to return.
- Ability to get employed.
- Ability to seek, or live with someone who has, public housing.
- Ability to get Student Loans.
- Your ability to drive.
- Your child custody rights.
If personal satisfaction of not having the world treat you like a criminal is not enough of a reason to look into the expungement process, these collateral consequences certainly are.
Our firm offers a very straightforward expungement retainer agreement.
For a flat fee of $350.00, a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement attorney will meet with you, discuss your Maryland-only criminal record, and advise you as to what is likely eligible now or eventually from your criminal record. If cases are eligible now, a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer will assist you in completing and submitting a petition for expungement to the court. Filing fees are not included but those are only applicable for certain convictions. Most cases eligible for expungement do not have any filing fees.
This is a flat rate offer and not per case. If you have 1 case or 30 cases eligible for expungement, all would be included in this retainer fee agreement.
If you would like some more information first before contacting a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer about expunging cases from your criminal record, please see below for answers to many of your questions.
Expungements are not automatic!
It can’t be said loudly enough. More problems have been caused in people’s lives than will ever be realized than by a lack of understanding of this truth. Countless Defendants go to court, hear something about expungement-eligibility from their lawyer or the judge and assume everything is working out in the simplest way possible. It isn’t. If you want a case expunged from your record, you must file a Petition for Expungement with the Court. If you don’t, that case is still very much on your record, regardless of it you won or lost the case.
A majority of cases in the court system will eventually be eligible for expungement. But before you can expunge a case, you must consider 2 things
- Is my case result on the list of types of cases eligible for expungement?
- Not every kind of case is eligible for expungement. At the bottom of this page is a list of the most common cases eligible for expungement. This list is very inclusive but does not list absolutely everything eligible. If you don’t see what you are looking for on this list, you should still consult with a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer to see if something not on this list is eligible.
- Even if my case is on the list, is there a reason I can’t file a petition for expungement?
- Even if your case finished in way that may be eligible for expungement, there are four important factors that could affect whether or not your case is eligible for expungement now or if you will have to wait. Those considerations are:
- Are you now pending any unresolved criminal cases?
- New charges, pending violations of probations, 8-505 status hearings and Drug Court need to be resolved first. Otherwise you could be not eligible for an expungement as a result of having a pending case. Pending is not the same as serving a sentence. Being on parole or probation is not the same thing as pending. Having a court date for a criminal proceeding is what is meant by pending. Not sure if you are “pending”? Contact a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer to find out if you have any pending cases.
- Is your entire case eligible?
- You may have heard of something called the Unit Rule. This applies when you were charged with more than one crime in your case. For the purposes of this rule, think of the case as a unit. If one charge in the unit is not eligible for expungement, the other charges in the unit are not eligible for expungement no matter what type of charges they are (criminal, traffic, boating violation, light-rail violation, etc.). However, because a related minor traffic violation that arises from the same incident is not considered part of the unit, the existence of related minor traffic charges will not affect whether other charges in the unit can be expunged.
- This is typically the most frustrating thing to look out for when trying to expunge your record. Contact a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer to get assistance in understanding what is and is not eligible to expunge your record.
- Has the applicable waiting period elapsed?
- Not all resolved cases have waiting periods. But some definitely do. And the ones that do have varying waiting periods. A Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer can help you to navigate if you have one of the results that has either a 3 year, 4 year, 10 year or 15 year waiting period before your case is eligible for expungement?
- Also, if the waiting period is for a conviction that is eligible, not all but some convictions’ waiting periods don’t even begin to get counted until the sentence was completed.
- Even if the waiting period has not expired, if the waiting period is the only reason you cannot file for an expungement, you might be eligible for an early expungement. Contact a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer to see if this exception applies to you.
- Have you had a disqualifying subsequent conviction?
- If you get a new conviction during the waiting period, this could extend indefinitely your ability to expunge your conviction Current Maryland law says the new conviction has to also be eligible for expungement. If that new conviction is not on the list of expungeable convictions, your otherwise eligible conviction could be blocked. Contact a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer to understand how each case on your record could be affecting other portions of your record.
Here is a list of types of the most common cases eligible for expungement*.
Use this list to help yourself prequalify whether you could possibly be eligible to expunge your prior record. If your answer is yes to any of the questions below, you should look further into the possibility of expunging that case on your prior record:
- Were you found not guilty?
- Was your charge dismissed?
- Were you convicted of a crime that is no longer a crime?
- Did you received a probation before judgment disposition (excluding charges of driving while under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI))?
- Was your case nol pros’d (Nolle Prosequi)?
- Was your case Stetted (Stet)?
- If you were convicted a felony, was it one of these felonies?
- Burglary (1st, 2nd, or 3rd)
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Dangerous Substance
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, was that misdemeanor on the list below?
- Assault in the Second Degree
- Possession of Marijuana
- Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Drugs other than Marijuana)
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Violation of a Protection Order (Final and Temporary/Ex parte)
- Violation of a Peace Order (Final and Temporary/Ex parte)
- Open Container
- Bad checks
- Disturbing the Peace
- Obstructing or Hindering
- Disorderly Conduct
- Failure to Obey Order
- Rogue & Vagabond (Breaking & Entering into a Vehicle)
- Unauthorized Removal of Property
- Criminal contempt
- Public urination or defecation
- Failing to pay fare on transit vehicle
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor, but it was not on the list above, was it one of the misdemeanors listed in these statutes?
- Business Occupations and Professions § 17-613(a)
- Business Regulation §§ 5-712, 19-304, 19-308, or Title 5, Subtitle 6 or Subtitle 9
- Commercial Law §§ 14-1915, 14-2902, or 14-2903
- Election Law §§ 13-401, 13-602, or 16-201
- Health – General § 18-215
- Housing and Community Development §§ 4-411 or 4-2005
- Insurance §§ 27-403, 27-404, 27-405, 27-406, 27-406.1, 27-407, 27-407.1, or 27-407.2
- Natural Resources §§ 8-725.4, 8-725.5, 8-725.6, 8-725.7, 8-726, 8-726.1, 8-727.1, or 8-738.2
- Public Safety §§ 5-307, 5-308, 6-602, 7-402, or 14-114
- Real Property §§ 7-318.1, 7-509, or 10-507
- State Government § 9-124
- Tax – General §§ 13-1001, 13-1004, 13-1007, or 13-1024
Remember, this is an extensive list but it is not complete. Also, many results still have a waiting period before the case is eligible to expunge. This list is here to assist you in prequalifying before contacting a Zirkin & Schmerling Law Expungement lawyer. There may be additional reasons one can be eligible to expunge their case that are not on this list.