Aggressive Maryland Criminal Attorneys and Domestic Attorneys are frequently confronted with the issue of whether or not Domestic Violence Protective Orders or Peace Orders can be expunged. This is an extremely important question given how readily available court information now is on the internet. Anyone with a computer or even a smart phone can bring up Maryland Judiciary Case Search and find out a person’s entire legal history in seconds. This information is available to potential employers and undoubtedly costs people job opportunities on a daily basis.
That is, of course, unless the person has been able to get the court records expunged. Under the criminal code a person is entitled to have any case expunged that resulted in either a Nolle Prosse, a Dismissal, a Stet or a Not Guilty Verdict also called an Acquittal. There are exceptions to this general rule such as a situation in which a person has a subsequent conviction or has pending charges. In these instances, expungement is typically not permitted even in the case of an acquittal, as unfair as this may seem. But what about a Domestic Violence Protective Order or a Peace Order? Are these civil orders subject to being expunged from a person’s record:
Unfortunately the answer is no. Expungement is available only in criminal cases and only in the limited circumstances that I outlined above. What is available is a process called “Shielding”, but it is also available only in limited circumstances and is not nearly as complete a cleansing of the record as is expungement.