Can a 10 year old felony conviction be expunged?

Asked over 4 years ago -

Almost ten years ago, my father in law was charged with 3 seperate marijuana related crimes, including maintaining a common nuisance, cds possession-marijuana, and cds posses w/intent to distribute. As I said, it's been almost ten years, is it possible to have these records expunged, or sealed?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Abraham Fernando Carpio-Gonzalez


    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Is that the only conviction he's had? No more thereafter? How many charges did he get convicted of? When you say three separate but related crimes, what do you mean? Were they charged in the same incident or at different times? An experienced lawyer may be able to give you accurate and definite advice in an intervie or over the phone. Consult one directly.

  2. Lisa Manning

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . Dear Sir/Madam,

    Under Maryland law, a felony conviction can generally not be expunged, but there are other forms of record mitigation that your relative should consider. Whether you can expunge a criminal record in Maryland depends principally upon how the Court resolved the case, i.e. the final disposition, and any other arrests/offenses on your criminal record. Any case where at least one charge resulted in a conviction is not eligible for expungement, unless the Court later set aside or otherwise dismissed the conviction (such as, in a probation before judgment). Please see below instructions on how you can look up the status of a cases in the Maryland court system.

    He should also obtain a copy of his record as it appears in the FBI's national CJIS database. Even if the records cannot be expunged under Maryland law, he can then request the FBI database be updated to reflect any charges that did not result in a conviction. The FBI system is the database most commonly searched for background checks, including employment, graduate school and professional licensing. Should he not be successful in obtaining expungement, he may also want to consider filing for a pardon.

    Please see below more detailed information on each of these options:


    I have written a Legal Guide on Maryland Expungement, which tells you how to access your record and I hope can answer your question in greater detail. Please click on the following link:


    Your relatives will likely have a record with the FBI after they were fingerprinted in conjunction with their arrests. Unfortunately, most state law enforcement agencies send only the arrest charges to the FBI and do not update the record to reflect the final disposition of the case. This often confuses employers who look at the record and mistakenly assume that an applicant was convicted of all charges from an arrest. It is therefore helpful to obtain a copy of your record, and then to request that the FBI update the information to show which charges are actual convictions and which were dismissed.


    Finally, if you are ineligible for expungement, you may want to look into requesting a Pardon. This is a time-consuming process and does not expunge the record, but does help mitigate its effects. Please see the link below for more information on the Maryland Pardons. I am also in the process of drafting a Legal Guide on the subject, so please check back with soon.

    Best of luck,
    Lisa Manning, Esq.
    1629 K Street, N.W.
    Suite 300
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 905-2560
    (202) 747-2880 fax

    NOTE: This post provides general information on expungement. The information contained herein is not intended as legal advice, and you should therefore not act upon it before consulting with professional legal counsel. To obtain legal services from any law firm, including Record Absolutions, you must first establish an attorney-client relationship. This requires personal contact with us, and our determination that we are willing to take the engagement. Until all of these steps are complete, you have not hired an attorney and have not become a client of the firm. Thank you for your understanding.

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Felony crime

A felony is a crime that is punishable by more than one year in prison. Certain especially severe felonies may be punishable by the death sentence.

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