Background Check

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Background Check - You are only a few easy steps away from uncovering the truth about
someone's background!

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Prior to law school, I had never heard of the term "expungement." Maybe I was naive, or just
uneducated in criminal law and criminal procedure. But it never occurred to me that (a) there is a
process by which people can have criminal records expunged; and (b) there are people out there
that need to utilize such a process.

Before I get too far in this article, however, I want to let you know that I am a Maryland criminal
attorney, a Virginia criminal attorney, and a DC criminal attorney, so anything discussed here is
from the standpoint of expungements in those jurisdictions. Additionally, DC statutes provide for
expungement only in very limited circumstances, while Virginia and Maryland have somewhat
broader statutes. All three are different and, therefore, the information you obtain in this article is
not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Finally, if you need to have criminal records expunged in
any other jurisdiction, you should consult an attorney who is licensed in that state to give you
advice and information.

1.What is expungement?

Expungement is the process by which certain criminal records can be destroyed, usually after a
certain period of time or a result in court - for example, after an acquittal, nolle prosequi, probation
before judgment, or other dismissal of the charge.

While this article is about expungement, I want to point out an important difference between
expunging records and sealing records. Expungement means that the records are completely
destroyed. It is as though the crime never happened, or at least the record of the crime doesn't
exist. Sealing means that the records are still there, but a court order forbids them from being seen
by most people.

2.What criminal records can be expunged?

It is important to note that not all criminal records, charges, results, convictions, etc. can be
expunged. However, when it is determined that records are able to be expunged, generally all
records within any court, correctional facility, detention center, law enforcement agency, or
criminal justice information registry regarding that person's criminal charge will be expunged. This
usually includes information pertaining to apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition for
that particular crime.

3.Are criminal records automatically expunged?

Except in limited circumstances, criminal records are not automatically expunged. Usually, the

person requesting the expungement, or their criminal attorney, needs to file a motion or petition in
the court and then follow various procedures to have the record expunged. Often times, records
cannot be expunged until a certain time period elapses. In some instances, such as in some
juvenile cases, records may be automatically sealed or expunged once the juvenile defendant
reaches a certain age.

4.Can an expungement request be denied?

Absolutely expungement requests can be rejected. First, and foremost, expungement is not an
absolute right. Criminal records can only be expunged in limited circumstances and only if the
applicant follows the procedures correctly. Expungements are often denied because time periods
aren't met, the petition is insufficient, the records aren't those that can be expunged, and for many
other reasons.

As a general rule, criminal records are public information. That is to say anyone can go to the
Maryland, Virginia, or DC courthouse and find out if you have been arrested or convicted of a
crime. Expungement is a method by which someone can limit or eliminate the accessibility of
these records entirely. In the end, though, it is very important to note that expungement laws and
procedure vary immensely from state to state, even between Maryland, Virginia, and the District of

If you need to have criminal records expunged in Maryland, Virginia, or DC, you should consult a
good criminal attorney because expungement laws are very technical. Call a good Maryland
criminal attorney or Virginia criminal attorney today. At Marquardt Law Firm, we understand the
expungement procedures in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. Don't wait, we can help you.

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Background Check - You are only a few easy steps away from uncovering the truth about
someone's background!

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