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I received a PBJ. I'm told this means I was not convicted & an employer background check won't reveal it. True?

Frederick, MD |
Attorney answers 2


By imposing probation before judgment, the court withholds an entry of guilt on your record and you are correct in stating that you have not be "convicted." However, until such time as you petition the Court for expungement of your record, obtain an order from the Court and have applicable custodians of record file certificates confirming compliance with that order - provided you otherwise qualify for expungement in the first instance - it remains possible to input your name, for example, on the State's Judiciary Case Search site, and bring up information concerning the charge(s) placed against you and the disposition of those charges. You can access that site at Receiving a PBJ does not ordinarily necessitate one seeking a governer's pardon. More typically, one submits a form Petition and filing fee to the Court, after which the State, once served with the Petition, has a prescribed time by which to file objection. However, generally speaking, you will have to wait three (3) years from that date the probation was imposed before your Petition can be filed. However, if drug or alcohol counseling was associated with the probation, completion of that program may also impact on the timing for filing a Petition. You would be well advised to consult with counsel concerning the particulars underlying your question.

Mr. Eidelberg is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The response herein is not legal advice, does not create an attorney/client relationship, is for educational purposes, and intended to impart general information about the subject inquiry. Consultation with a qualified attorney in the state from which the inquiry is generated is strongly recommended so that case specific legal guidance can be obtained.


To add to the previous answer, which is correct, I would pursue the expungement process as your best (and realistically viable) option. After three years, eligible offenses are expunged as a matter of right. Prior to three years, you can get an expungement at any time at the discretion of the court, but you must present good cause why you should be granted an early expungement. You will not get an expungement before your probation ends, so if you want one earlier, then you'd have to ask your sentencing judge to terminate your probation early, and then petition for expungement. That is not a likely scenario, but in extraordinary circumstances (rare) it might be accomplished. Once expunged, no employer under state law may ask you about any expunged offense, including whether you were ever arrested or had the offense expunged. In a federal application, however, if asked whether you have ever been arrested, charged, placed on probation or received a probation before judgment, you are not necessarily protected by Maryland's expungement law. Providing false information on an application for a federal job is a felony. You can do nothing with the FBI records; an expungement in Maryland will not reach their records. The only time FBI records are accessed is if you apply for a federal position and the federal agency orders an FBI background search. No private employer or non-governmental agency can get access to the FBI records. Pardons from the governor are rare and simply not likely.

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