In 2022, the Appellate Court of Maryland made a ruling that concerns eligibility for expungement. According to the Appellate Court, only individuals who satisfactorily complete their probation may qualify. This decision impacts many individuals who have worked hard to change their lives but struggled to acquire job and housing opportunities.
The appeals court decision occurred in a case that originated in 2008. The case involved a man who pleaded guilty to theft of property valued at less than $500 in Montgomery County Circuit Court. He received a sentence of one year of incarnation with the time suspended and a year of supervised probation.
Some months into the probation, he violated probation and received a charge for possession of cannabis. He received two charges for the offense, admitted to violating parole, and spent four days in jail. The judge closed the probation, concluding it unsatisfactory.
The individual filed a petition to have his convictions expunged in 2020. However, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office opposed the petition. Montgomery County’s Circuit Judge, David A. Boynton, denied the petition. He cited that the individual must satisfy the sentencing to become eligible for expungement. As such, the individual needed to complete the probation without violating it.
Maryland law requires individuals to wait for a specific period based on their offense before requesting an expungement. The individual must satisfy the sentence’s requirements before beginning the expungement waiting period. Depending on the sentence’s terms, these requirements may include probation, mandatory supervision, or parole.
The sentence received an appeal, and the court acknowledged that it satisfied the punishment for violating probation. However, the court claimed the sentence for probation did not reach satisfaction. This decision holds precedence statewide.
However, this decision does not imply that everyone who violates probation cannot qualify for expungement. Disqualification requires a judge to specify whether the individual’s supervision closed unsatisfactorily. In some cases, judges may sanction individuals for violating probation and allow them to continue supervised probation. Individuals who continue supervised probation may still qualify for expungement.
The Appellate Court’s ruling may lead to many people facing denied expungement requests. However, this should not stop employers from hiring anyone with criminal records and participating in second-chance hiring. One way to start a second chance program is by partnering with a background screening company familiar with the practice. The right provider will use their experience to deliver accurate and relevant background checks.
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