Drug Charges in Maryland
In Maryland, if somebody gets a probation before judgment, which is a sentence for first time offenders, then the person is eligible for a mandatory expungement 3 years after the end of the supervised probation after the probation before judgment sentence. A person is eligible for an early expungement before the 3-year mandatory period is over if the offender can show good cause why the guilty sentence on their record is affecting their life in a negative way. A lot of times, that means we bring in proof to a hearing before a judge when we ask for an early expungement. We show, “Look, we’ve applied to 50 restaurants as a waiter and we’ve only gotten an interview with 1”. We bring in proof of the applications to show that the drug charge and the guilty verdict is hurting their employment or what is more common is we bring in proof of a denial letter from an apartment complex management company saying, “Thank you for your application. We’ve reviewed your record and see a drug charge. We have a right to deny you access as a new renter to our apartment complex”, or people get kicked out of public housing and things like that where we show proof of hardship because of the guilty sentence.
Often times, judges will be open to giving a defendant an early expungement generally after a year or 18 months or two years after they get the probation before judgment but a probation before judgment is an absolute prerequisite getting an expungement in Maryland and that means that probation before judgment is a sentence which is generally reserved for first or second time offenders. If the person does not get probation before a judgment and has a conviction, then expungement is impossible. When that happens, we file a motion to reconsider asking the judge to grant a probation before judgment sentence at a later time. An year or two years later after the person is proved successful on probation, and a lot of judges will be open to that and they will hold a reconsideration hearing a year, two or three years later, sometimes at the end of the probationary period and give the person the probation before judgment instead of a conviction which enables the person to have a mandatory expungement 3 years later or an early experience in earlier time.
Is There Anything Else That You Want People to Know as Far as Drug Charges Go?
It’s really important to read an attorney’s website thoroughly to look for their experience. That does not mean just the number of years they’ve been a lawyer but were they a prosecutor before? Were they a public defender and the number of jury trials they’ve had in their career or the number of accolades they’ve gotten from magazines and publications, client reviews and newspaper articles. If you look carefully at all of those things on people’s websites, then you’d be able to determine pretty quickly whether the attorney has had tons of success in court because most attorneys have not had that amount of success. If they’ve had it, it’d be on the website and if it’s not on the website that means they probably haven’t had it.
It’s very important to look over each attorney’s website very carefully before you hire an attorney because the inherent aggressiveness of your attorney, the knowledge about loopholes and the law and the ability to persuade judges, prosecutors and juries is vastly different with each lawyer. You can wind up with somebody that looks generally okay on paper but they’ll do a B-minus job in court. You need to find somebody with an A-plus appearance on paper because they’re more likely to have an A-plus performance in court. Another thing you should look for on somebody’s website is whether they’ve published anything. I’ve written a book on criminal procedure that every judge in the state has in their chambers and it’s in its 11th edition published by largest legal publishing company in the United States; Thompson/West. That’s the type of lawyer that will know every legal loophole, every legal intricacy to try to make your case better in court and hopefully win.
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