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Cleaning up your Criminal Record

Tips on how to remove any errors from your criminal record, if you we ever arrested

If you have ever been arrested and fingerprinted, you have a criminal record and items on your record may be available for public inspection. If you were arrested in Maryland, the Criminal Justice Information System maintains this information.

If you were arrested in another state, you have a separate record for that state. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) keeps a record of all your arrests and convictions nationwide.

What appears on my criminal record?
Any arrest or citation may show up on your criminal record and may be available for public inspection.

What does it mean to 'clean up a criminal record'?

Cleaning up your criminal record means to remove any police or court records from public inspection.

If you have been charged with a crime, you may try to remove items from your record if:
  • You were found not guilty
  • The charge was dismissed
  • The charge resulted in probation before judgment
  • The State's Attorney did not prosecute
  • The Court indefinitely postponed your case
  • Your case was compromised
You should also check your records because there may be some errors. Here are some possible errors that may happen:
  • Sealed information - Your criminal record may contain information that should be sealed, which employers do not have a right to see. For example, criminal record may include youthful offender records. In addition, if you were arrested but not convicted of a crime or your case was dismissed, the information about that case should be sealed. Also, arrests and convictions for non-criminal offenses or violations should be sealed.
  • Incomplete information - Your criminal record may list an arrest but not say how the case ended up (conviction, case dismissal). Someone reviewing your criminal record may assume that you were convicted or that there is a warrant out for your arrest, even if your case was dismissed or you were not convicted.
  • Multiple entries - One arrest may be listed more than once on your record.
** You cannot remove information of an arrest if you were convicted or plead guilty to a crime. These records will remain on your criminal record. **

How do I clean my criminal record or expunge items from my record?
In order to remove items from your criminal record, you need to file a petition with the court system and ask them to 'expunge' your record.

  • Complete a petition for expungment AND a General Waiver and Release (Form DC/CR78). In order to complete the form, you will need to know the date you were arrested, summoned, or cited; the law enforcement agency that took the action; the offense with which you were charged; and the date your case was disposed.
  • Make copies of your forms and bring to the court where your case was concluded.
  • You may need to pay a $30 fee for every charge you'd like to remove, unless you were acquitted of the charge.
  • The process should take approximately 90 days, unless there is an objection to your petition within 30 days by the State's Attorney or law enforcement agency. If so, the court will hold a hearing and will notify you to attend.
Is there a waiting period for filing for expungement?
  • You may need to wait three years after you case was decided before filing for expungement, but rules vary according to the case. For more information, please contact the Criminal Justice Information System.
The Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository for the State of Maryland is located at:
1202 Reisterstown Road
Building G
Pikesville, MD 21208
(410) 585-3633

Free Legal Assistance
For legal help, please contact:

The Maryland Volunteer Lawyers' Services
1 North Charles St. Suite 222
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 547-6537

The Homeless Persons Representation Project
300 Cathedral St, Suite 204
Baltimore, MD 21201
(800) 773-4340 ext. 101 or 118

Who can see my criminal record?

You are allowed to review your own criminal record. In addition, several other groups of people are allowed to review it:
  • Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Agencies - Police departments, courts, parole and probation departments, correction officials, prosecutors, and defense attorneys have the right to review your criminal record.
  • Some potential employers - Public employers (federal, state and local government agencies), hospitals, childcare agencies, museums, banks and brokerage houses, schools, and school bus companies all can review your criminal record.
  • Occupational Licensing Agencies - Agencies that issue licenses to practice a given profession, for example agencies that issue licenses to barbers, real estate brokers, doctors, nurses and taxi drivers to practice their professions, have the right to review your criminal record if you apply for one of these licenses.
  • Bonding Agencies - If your employer or potential employer takes out a bond on you, which is like an insurance policy, the Agency that issues that bond has the right to review your criminal record.
Because many different people, particularly employers, can review your criminal record, you want to make sure that the information is correct. ­