Maryland Courts

Shielding Criminal Records

Which Court?
  • File your request in the court that heard the case.

How can I keep the public from seeing my
criminal convictions?

If you were convicted of one or more crimes on the list below, you may ask the court to keep those records out of public view. This process is called "shielding." When a case is shielded, it will no longer be displayed in Case Search or be available to the public. Law enforcement officers, and certain agencies and individuals may still be able to review this information.

  • You may petition only one court (you must choose either the circuit court or District Court).
  • You may file in only one county.
  • Include all eligible convictions (from one court in one county) on one petition.
  • The court will grant you only one shielding petition over your lifetime.

Before filing a request for shielding, you must wait three years after completing any sentence, including any parole, probation, or mandatory supervision.

The court cannot grant your request for shielding if:

  • The conviction was for a crime that is "domestically-related."
  • You are a defendant in a pending criminal matter.
  • Other convictions in the "unit" or group of related charges are not eligible for shielding.
  • You are convicted of a new crime during the three-year waiting period.

Details about the shielding process are in the Guide for Shielding of Maryland Second Chance Act Records and at the People’s Law Library.

  • Shielding does not eliminate your criminal record. It removes from public view court and police records of a conviction for certain types of crimes.
  • Expungement completely removes a criminal record from court files. In general, a case can be expunged if the court granted a favorable disposition. In most instances, expungement is not available if you were convicted. See more information on Expungement.

Eligible convictions

Which convictions are eligible for shielding?

  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Disturbing the Peace
  • Failure to Obey a Reasonable and Lawful Order
  • Malicious Destruction of Property in the Lesser Degree
  • Trespass on Posted Property
  • Possession or Administering a Controlled Dangerous Substance
  • Possession or Administering a Non-controlled Dangerous Substance
  • Use of or Possession with Intent to Use Drug Paraphernalia
  • Driving without a License
  • Driving While Privilege is Canceled, Suspended, Refused, or Revoked
  • Driving While Uninsured
  • Prostitution

Filing Fees for Shielding

Do I have to pay a fee when I file my petition for shielding?

The filing fee is $30. It is nonrefundable, even if your petition is denied. You will only pay once per petition, even if it includes several cases.

 

Last updated: October 2015