The state of Maryland offers two official forms or processes that allow for the relief of disabilities and penalties that accompany a criminal conviction or arrest. A pardon and an Expungement are both available in the state of Maryland. Eligibility and requirements for either process serve two different sets of criteria.
A pardon is for individuals who have been convicted of one or more crimes. A pardon is granted by the Governor. Receiving a pardon can restore any or all civil rights that might have been taken when convicted of a felony. In order to qualify for a pardon, you cannot be currently incarcerated, you must be crime free for five (5) years after the discharge of the sentence for a misdemeanor, and ten (10) years from the discharge of the sentence for a felony. Violent crimes and controlled, dangerous substance violations must be crime free for twenty (20) years after the discharge of the sentence.
An Expungement is available to individuals who were arrested but found not guilty, had charges dismissed, received probation before judgement, where the prosecutor enters a nolle prosequi, the case was placed on stet docket, or any case that was transferred to juvenile court. An Expungement removes a criminal record from law enforcement and public access and the offender can act as if the record never existed. A person who has received a full, unconditional pardon is also eligible for expungement after ten (10) years has passed since the granting of the pardon.
The State of Maryland is very strict when it comes to qualifying for an expungement pardon. In order to qualify you must 1.) Have the case dismissed, 2.) Be found Not Guilty (acquitted) or 3.) The case was dropped during a trial. Traffic violation including DUI’s cannot be expunged. You must wait 3 years after a decision about your case has been decided before you can apply. If you are granted a pardon in the state of Maryland, the court, law enforcement and any other agencies that are relevant must remove all the records from public access that are criminal.