What does the juvenile expungement law do?

In summary. The juvenile expungement law establishes a procedure through which a person with a juvenile record can ask a court to have the record "expunged.”

Definition:  "Expungement" is the removal of court or police records from public inspection.

The procedure includes notice to the victim, and the opportunity for the State’s Attorney and the victim to oppose expungement. Laws.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1

Read the Rule: Maryland Rule 11-601

The court forms are:

  • Form 11-601: Petition for expungement of juvenile records (PDF) (DOCX);
  • Form 11-602: Order for expungement of juvenile records (Read on Westlaw);
  • Form 11-603: Certificate of Compliance (PDF) (DOCX).

What is a “juvenile record”? Does the juvenile expungement law cover all juvenile records?

Juvenile record. The juvenile expungement law covers “juvenile records”. A “juvenile record” is a court record or police record concerning a child who:

  • Is alleged, or adjudicated, delinquent or in need of supervision, or
  • Has received a citation for a violation.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(a)(1),(3); MD Rule 11-601(b)(2)

Not covered. The law does not require expungement of all juvenile records. Two types of records are not covered:

  • Records kept pursuant to Maryland law concerning sex offender registration (Maryland Code, Criminal Procedure, § 11-701 et seq.), and
  • Records maintained by a law enforcement agency: (1) for the sole purpose of collecting statistical information concerning juvenile delinquency, and (2) that do not contain any information that would reveal a person’s identity.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(h); MD Rule 11-601(a)(2)

How is a juvenile record expunged?

When a juvenile record is expunged, it is removed from public inspection. This can be done in one of three ways:

  • By obliteration, meaning that the record is destroyed or otherwise made unreadable,
  • By removing the record to a separate secure area with restricted access, or
  • If access to the record can be obtained only by reference to another court record or police record, by expunging that record or the part of that record that provides access.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(a)(1),(2); MD Code Ann., Criminal Procedure, § 10-101; MD Rule 11-601(b)(1)

What are the grounds for expungement?

Not everyone with a juvenile record will be eligible for expungement. The law sets out a number of factors that a judge must consider before the judge can order a juvenile record expunged.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(c)(2)-(9),(d)

The grounds for expungement are listed in the Juvenile Record Expungement Checklist. You can use the Checklist to find out whether you meet the grounds for expungement.

How do I request expungement of my juvenile record?

Filing a petition. A person who believes that he or she meets the grounds for expungement asks the court to expunge the person’s juvenile record by filing a “petition”.

Petition format. The format for the petition must be substantially similar to Form 11-601.

Where to file. The petitioner can file a petition for expungement in the court in which the juvenile petition or juvenile citation was filed.

Definitions: 
A "petition" is a legal paper that starts a case.
The person who files a petition is the "petitioner."
"Filing" means that the court clerk is officially given a copy of legal papers (such as the petition) and records those papers in the court records.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(b)(1); MD Rule 11-601(c)

After I file the petition, does anyone get a copy?

Yes. After the petition is filed with the court, the court has the petition served on certain people by mail or delivery:

  • Each victim,
  • Each family member of a victim who is listed in the court record as having attended the adjudication in the juvenile case, and
  • The State’s Attorney for the county in which the petition is filed.

The copy will be mailed or delivered.

Definitions: 
"Service" means that a copy of the petition is provided to the people on the other side of a case.
The "victim" is a person listed in the delinquency case as a person against whom a delinquent act was committed or attempted.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(b)(2); MD Rule 11-601(d)

Can the people served with the petition object to the court granting my petition?

Yes. Each person who is served with the petition may object to the court granting the petition. The juvenile expungement law does not set out a required form or content for an objection.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(e)(3)(i)(1); MD Rule 11-601(f)

Will the court hold a hearing before deciding on my petition?

The court may, and in some circumstances must, hold a hearing before deciding on a petition for expungement.

  • No timely objection. If an objection is not filed within 30 days by one of the people served with the petition, the court may grant the petition without holding a hearing.
  • Petition does not meet grounds. If the court finds that the petition does not meet the grounds for expungement, the court may deny the petition without holding a hearing.
  • Timely objection. If the court does not dismiss the petition, and an objection is filed (within 30 days) by one of the people served with the petition, the court must hold a hearing.
  • May hold hearing. The court may hold a hearing if it chooses to do so.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(e); MD Rule 11-601(g)

What happens at the hearing?

Evidence by petitioner. At the hearing, the petitioner presents evidence explaining why the court should grant the petition.

Evidence by person filing objection. Anyone who filed an objection presents evidence explaining why the court should not grant the petition.

Judge’s decision. The judge decides whether to grant the petition; there is no jury.

After the hearing, will the judge decide on the petition?

Yes.

Granting the petition. After the hearing, if the judge finds that the person is entitled to expungement, the judge must grant the petition and order the expungement of all court records and police records relating to the delinquency petition, the Child in Need of Supervision (CINS) petition or the citation. If the court orders expungement, the format for the order must be substantially similar to Form 11-602.

Denying the petition. If the judge finds that the person is not entitled to expungement, the court must deny the petition.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(e)(3)(iii),(iv); MD Rule 11-601(h)

How will I know what the judge decides?

Written order. The judge’s decision will be set out in a written court order.

Service. The court clerk serves the order (by mail or other delivery method) on the petitioner and every other party to the case.

Read the Rule: MD Rule 11-601(h)(1), (j)

Can the judge’s order be appealed?

Yes.

By petitioner. The petitioner may appeal an order denying an expungement petition.

By State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney may appeal an order granting an expungement petition.

Process. The appeal must be filed within 30 days after entry of the order. The petitioner or State’s Attorney appeals by filing a “notice of appeal” (Form 22) with the clerk of the court that issued the order that is being appealed. Also, the person filing the appeal must serve a copy of the appeal on all other parties or their attorney.

Definition:  An "appeal" is a review of the expungement order by an appellate court.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(f); MD Rule 11-601(j)

The judge "stayed" the expungement order during the appeal. What does that mean?

In general. A judge who issues an order granting an expungement petition may, and under certain circumstances must, "stay" the order. A "stay" means that the expungement of the juvenile record will be suspended – is "on hold" – while the appeal is proceeding.

When judge must issue stay. The judge must issue a stay if the judge ordered expungement, and that order was made over State’s Attorney’s objection. The expungement order is stayed for 30 days after entry of the order and, if there is an appeal, continues to be stayed until the decision on the appeal and further order of the court.

When judge may issue stay. In other situations, the judge may issue a stay.

Service. If the judge has stayed the expungement order, the stay will be served on the parties along with the expungement order.

Definition:  A "stay" suspends the expungement until the appeal process is completed.

Read the Rule: MD Rule 11-601(i)

How long does a stay last?

Order not appealed. If the judge issues a stay and the order is not appealed, the stay ends when the time set out in the stay is over. The stay may end earlier if the State’s Attorney consents in writing.

Order appealed. If the judge issues a stay and the order is appealed, the court will lift the stay at the end of the appeal process.

Read the Rule: MD Rule 11-601(i)(2)

The court ordered my juvenile record expunged. How will I know that my record was expunged?

In general. The custodian of the juvenile record must notify the petitioner, the court, and all parties to the petition that the custodian complied with the expungement order. The notice must be in writing (Form 11-603).

Order not appealed. If the court’s order is not appealed, the notice must be made within 60 days after the court order.

Order appealed. If the court’s order is appealed, and the appeals court decides in favor of the petitioner, the notice should be made within 60 days after the custodian receives notice that the stay was lifted.

Definition:  The "custodian of the juvenile record" is the State or local government officer or employee who either: (1) is responsible for keeping the juvenile record, or (2) has the physical custody and control of the juvenile record.

Read the Law: MD Code Ann., Courts and Judicial Proceedings, § 3-8A-27.1(g); MD Rule 10-601(l)

Source: 

Sarah R. Kaplan, Esq., Department of Family Administration, AOC

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