There is pending legislation in Annapolis that would authorize a person to petition the court to shield certain court records and police records relating to certain criminal convictions. The bill, titled the Maryland Second Chance Act of 2015, permits a Court to “shield” from public view the listed specified crimes contained within the bill. These crimes include disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order, malicious destruction of property under $500, Trespass: Posted Property, Obtaining property or services with bad check under $500, misdemeanor theft under $1,000, possessing or administering of a controlled dangerous substance, use of or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia, driving without a license, driving while privilege is canceled, suspended, revoked or refused, driving while uninsured and prostitution. The shielded record will remain fully accessible by criminal justice units for criminal justice purposes and certain types of employers and health occupations boards.
Currently, criminal convictions are not eligible for expungement or shielding. However, criminal defendants who receive a disposition of Not Guilty, Probation Before Judgment, Dismissal or are offered a Stet by the State’s Attorney’s Office are eligible to have the charges expunged from their record. For more information about expunging criminal records, contact Kevin Mahoney or Laura Bechtel at SMLH Law.