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