How do I file a petition for expungement?
Topics on this page
- Before you get started
- Where can I get an expungement petition form?
- What can I include on the form?
- I need help with the form.
- Where do I file my petition?
- What is the fee to file the petition?
- What does the petition look like when it is filled out?
- What happens after I file for expungement?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Expungement is a process that lets you ask the court to remove certain kinds of court and police records from public view. Not all criminal records can be expunged, and a waiting period may be required. Learn more about expungement in Maryland.
- Do you have a copy of your criminal record?
- Have you checked to see if your criminal record is eligible for expungement?
- Is this a court or police record?
- Is this a Maryland case?
The Maryland Courts website has forms available online.
- This Petition for Expungement of Records should be used for the expungement of acquittal, dismissal, probation before judgment, nolle pros, stet, and certain not criminally responsible dispositions
- This Petition for Expungement of Records should be used for the expungement of eligible guilty dispositions
- General Waiver and Release
You can also get a copy of the forms from any District Court or Circuit Court. Note that the Circuit Court and the District Court use the same forms.
When you fill out and file a petition for expungement, make sure you know your criminal record. Learn how you can get a copy of your criminal record.
To help you complete the petition and answer your questions, the District Court of Maryland has a brochure on Expungement online.
You can also contact one of the organizations listed here for help: http://www.peoples-law.org/referrals-help-expungements.
You file your petition in the court in which your case was finally resolved. If you have multiple cases in different courts, you will need to file a petition in each court.
For example, you have a criminal case that you would like to expunge in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County and a different case that you would like to expunge in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County. You cannot combine the cases into a single petition. You must petition each court separately.
If your case was outside of Maryland, then that state’s laws will apply. This article is only about cases in Maryland.
If the petition is for a case with a disposition of acquittal, dismissal, PBJ, nolle prosequi, stet or not criminally responsible, then there is no fee to file the petition.
If the petition is for a case with a guilty disposition, then there is a $30 filing fee for each case. This fee is not refundable, even if your petition is denied. You may ask the judge to waive (excuse) the fee due to financial hardship. The form can be found here.
You can visit www.MDExpungement.com and enter your case number to see what the form might look like. The MDExpungement site is not maintained by the courts, and should not be considered legal advice. However, it does use publicly available information from the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website to show what your expungement petition might look like.
After you have filed for expungement, and the court has given a copy of the filing to the State’s Attorney, the State’s Attorney has 30 days to file an objection to your petition. You may have a hearing depending on whether the State’s Attorney objects to your petition. Learn more about the expungement process.
Do I need an attorney? An attorney is not required for you to file a petition for expungement. However, it may be useful to consult with an attorney if you have questions about your situation.
Can I take the form to the court to ask the clerk for help? The court clerk can only provide public information, such as case numbers and dispositions. The clerk cannot help you complete the forms.
Can I include all of my case numbers on the petition? The petition can only include the case numbers for one “unit.” A “unit” is generally two or more charges (other than minor traffic violations) arising from the same incident, transaction, or set of facts.
What is the disposition? This is court’s final determination on the criminal charge. Examples include guilty, not guilty (acquittal), probation before judgment, nolle prosequi, stet, or not criminally responsible.
Do I need to notarize the forms? No.
Do I need to make copies? You will need to include an extra copy for the State’s Attorney and each law enforcement agency named in the petition.