Anyone who is convicted of a crime in Maryland has a public record of that criminal activity. The public record is just that – just about anyone can access and view them. The following information better helps you to understand Maryland’s criminal records handling and how to access them.
What Are Criminal Records?Criminal records are complete histories of individuals’ respective state-level criminal convictions in Maryland. Criminal convictions outside of Maryland are not included. Nor do Maryland criminal records provide information on convictions for federal crimes. Maryland criminal records only compile information on misdemeanor and felony convictions in Maryland courts. Maryland allows those convicted of certain types of crimes to shield the record from the general public. The idea is to not overly punish someone for a relatively low-level criminal act. At least three years after completing a sentence or a crime, the convicted person can petition the court to shield an eligible criminal conviction. The state charges $30 to process a shielding request – even if it gets turned down.
How Are Criminal Records Used?Criminal records are highly useful to a wide range of people and entities and generally helps local communities to better recognize potential threats of criminal activity. Criminal records most often are used by prospective job providers, community associations and law enforcement agencies engaged in a criminal investigation. Criminal records help such entities and others to better assess a person’s character and ability to handle stressful situations. Criminal background checks are the top reason to obtain criminal records. Many organizations have accounts set up so that they can perform criminal background checks remotely. Most will ask for permission or tell individuals that they are subject to a criminal background check. They do not need permission to do so, but asking helps to create a solid defense against any potential defamation claims.
How Can Someone Access Your Records?Virtually anyone can use the online Maryland judiciary case search to look up any court cases, including criminal cases, that might involve a particular individual. Court records do not necessarily mean the person was convicted and in fact might have prevailed. Court records are available to anyone with a computer or who goes to a local courthouse to obtain the respective court records. People can look up a court record by the case number or the first and last names of involved parties. The records include criminal as well as civil cases.
How Can You Request a Criminal Record?
You can obtain a Maryland criminal record by conducting a criminal records check through the Maryland Criminal Justice Information System’s Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services. The criminal records are supported by fingerprints to help identify the correct individual for whom the criminal record is requested. New forms for private party petitioners and employment or licensing purposes are available online and can be turned in at a respective departmental office.
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