March 1, 2024

Maryland legislators have proposed a new bill called the Maryland Clean Slate Act of 2024, also known as HB0658 or SB0602. This bill would introduce a simplified expungement process for clearing criminal records. This new process seeks to establish an automated expungement process for eligible records. 

As such, it would eliminate the need for many to file a petition to expunge old criminal records. The State Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing for the Maryland Clean Slate Act. The CMTE received a referral about the Act for further discussion since its introduction in the state Senate.

The Maryland Clean Slate Act aims to expand eligibility for expungements. It applies to anyone “who has been charged with the commission of a crime.” Examples included “a violation of the Transportation Article for which a term of imprisonment may be imposed, or who has been charged with a civil offense or infraction, except a juvenile offense.” However, they must meet several conditions before filing a petition.

Acquitted individuals may file an expungement petition. Those with dismissed charges or past convictions may also file under several restrictions. Other expansions include crimes without violence, nolle prosequi, or nolle prosequis that require drug or alcohol treatment.

The Maryland Clean Slate Act also establishes a system for automatically expunging certain offenses. Eligible records include non-domestically related misdemeanors after seven or more years have elapsed since disposition. In addition, non-domestically related felonies for which 20 or more years have passed will also qualify. It would also expunge certain lesser offenses after only three years.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services would review criminal history records once a month. Afterward, the Department must notify the Administrative Office of the Courts and other relevant agencies of qualifying records. Eligible Prosecutors would have the opportunity within 30 days to object to an expungement.

The Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Maryland or their Designee would then transmit a signed expungement order to all criminal justice units with criminal records related to the cases. The Maryland Clean Slate Act also addressed concerns about court fees, unpaid fines, or court-ordered restitution related to the cases. Such circumstances will not preclude the expungement of eligible charges.

The Department would also provide a means for those with expungements under this Act to check for expunged records. Furthermore, those with expunged records could acquire the information without a court order. If someone has a charge that is not Clean Slate eligible, they may still file a petition to have the charge expunged. Anyone ineligible for the Maryland Clean Slate Act can still file petitions to expunge charges.

Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.