If you were charged with a crime, you may be able to get the records, and related DNA samples, expunged or destroyed. When a record is “expunged” it is removed from public inspection. A DNA sample associated with a record is destroyed.
How do I get the records expunged and the samples destroyed?
To start the process, you have to file a petition in a court – generally this will be the court where your case began. For more information, see our article on filing a petition for expungement.
When should I file the petition for expungement?
The time for filing depends on how your case ended. Generally, you must wait 3 years after your case was decided before you can file for expungement, but the eligibility varies depending on a disposition of guilty, or other than guilty.
Unless the state objects within 30 days, the court will issue an order to expunge the records. If the state objects, the court will hold a hearing to decide if you are entitled to expungement. If the court orders expungment of the records, you should receive written confirmation that the records have been removed within 60 days.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Procedure § 10-105
Your DNA samples and records related to the criminal investigation/prosecution should be destroyed or expunged automatically in the following instances:
- You were not convicted
- Your conviction was reversed or vacated without a new trial
- You were granted an unconditional pardon
Automatic expungement is NOT available if the action was put on the stet docket or you received probation before judgment. You should receive written notice of expungment or destruction within 60 days.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Public Safety § 2-511