If you have a conviction on your record, you know that it can be very hard to find a job, housing, or other things you need. This is because having a conviction, no matter what it is, seems to make you unfit for jobs or housing, even though the conviction may be decades old or be for a minor charge. Fortunately, expungement is becoming more common in Maryland, and that means you may be able to get your conviction removed from your record, opening you up to an easier time in the employment market.
One example a report from Sept. 26 reported was that a man, age 31, with violations including having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle and disorderly conduct, has been struggling with finding work. Even though the charges had been dropped, postponed, or he had already served probation, those charges remained on his criminal record. That means that prospective employers can see those charges and choose to not hire him based on his alleged criminal past.
Under new laws taking place the same week, many who have these minor charges on their records will be able to have them removed. This movement is part of a reassessment on the 1990s-2000s mass-arrest mentality, because it’s now clear the kind of consequences that have resulted. Minorities, who have been disproportionately arrested and affected by the charges, may be the first to benefit from these changes.
Thanks to the new legislation, some past crimes may be erased from the records of people who request expungement. In some other states, there are limits being placed on employers, so they can’t necessarily see job applicants’ criminal records.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “New state laws to help Marylanders clear arrest records,” Alison Knezevich, Sep. 26, 2015