Should I file for an expungement of my records?

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services of the State of Maryland states that expungement is the removal of court and police records from public inspection. (1)

Having prior criminal charges can have consequences in your personal and professional life; this is one of the main reasons why most people consider filing a petition for expungement of records.

In a previous entry of my blog, I explained how important is to obtain certified copies of court entries showing the resolution of your case before filing for expungement, especially if you are not a US citizen. The link for this blog is http://www.scholnicklaw.com/2012/01/start-the-new-year-by-expunging-old-records/.

Immigration authorities often require that you disclose your criminal record even if it has been expunged. If you expunge your case without obtaining certified copies of court entries and in the future, you want to apply for US citizenship or in the worst scenario, if you are in deportation proceedings, it is going to be hard to prove that the case was dismissed if there are not official records.

Djun Tran of Tran Law Associates is a Philadelphia attorney specializing in immigration  law. In her article “How Expungements can be a Headache in Immigration Cases,” she states that expungements can be a problem because the records from the Federal Government can be outdated and wrong.  As she writes “agencies that received the criminal record information may or may not update their files in a timely manner, so information about the convictions may still show up in other databases, such as the FBI database. (2)

Therefore, it is very important that you consult an Attorney before filing expungement of records.

The State of Maryland has a bilingual form to file a petition for expungement of records and it is available in this link http://mdcourts.gov/courtforms/joint/ccdccr072bls.pdf .  However the petition needs to be filed in English.

If you need further assistance with this form or if you have any questions about expungement, please call my office and I will be happy to assist you.


 

(1)   http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/publicservs/expung.shtml

(2)   http://uponfurtherreview.philadelphiabar.org/page/Article?articleID=68913a51-1d16-4dfd-bdf5-0532bfa091bd