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What defines a Criminal Record in Maryland?
A criminal record is an official document that documents a person’s criminal history. It contains information assembled from various departments as well as district courts, circuit courts and correctional facilities across the state. Criminal records in Maryland are classified as public records. This means members of the public have a broad to inspect or access records, in compliance with the Maryland Public Information Act. Criminal records may be obtained through a number of courts, police departments, and the official Maryland State Records Online Database.
What Information is Provided in a Criminal Record?
Criminal records vary between individuals. Some of the information that may be provided in a record includes the:
- Subject’s date of Birth
- Subject’s full name
- Photograph or Mugshot
- Details of past arrests
- Physical descriptors such as hair color, eye color, tattoos a1nd more
- Any pending charges
What is an Arrest Record?
Arrest records in Maryland contain an official summary of people’s arrest history. It details whether a person has been apprehended, questioned, taken into custody or placed in detention. It also provides information on any charges or indictments for a felony, misdemeanor or any other offense.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is an official document that authorizes law enforcement officials to apprehend and put the named person(s) in custody. It is signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions. In Maryland, the police can arrest a person for committing a crime even without a warrant. In most cases, this occurs when the person commits the crime in an officer’s presence.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are non-indictable offenses that are generally not as serious as a felony. Unlike most states, the state of Maryland does not classify its misdemeanor crimes into separate classes. Instead, penalties are given based on the statute governing the offense. Maryland misdemeanors may have fines up to $5,000 and carry sentences as high as ten years imprisonment. Some of the common misdemeanor crimes in Maryland include:
- Assault in the second degree
- Reckless Driving
- Petty theft (of property or service valued less than $1,000)
- Driving under the influence
What is a Felony?
A felony offense in Maryland is a criminal conviction with a minimum sentence of more than 1 year. It is served in a county jail or state prison. A felony in Maryland is a serious crime that is punishable by death or a term of one year or more in prison. Maryland does not classify felony crimes into different classes. The Maryland criminal statutes offer the possible penalties for each individual felony with penalties. Examples of felonies in Maryland include:
- Drug possession with intent to distribute
- Distributing a controlled substance
- Sexual Assault
- Armed robbery or larceny-theft over $1,000
- Arson, burglary and other crimes against property
- Assault in the first degree
What is a Sex Offender Listing?
A sex offender listing contains a compilation of public information on persons convicted of committing a sex crime. It allows law enforcement officers to track convicted offenders. Like most states, the state of Maryland categorizes sex crimes into first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses. The length of time required for registration is based on the degree of a sex crime. In addition, judges are given discretion as to whether they need registration for crimes besides the charges listed under the sex offender registration law.
How to Find Sex Offender Records in Maryland
Residents of Maryland can obtain information by searching through the online database managed by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. Searches can be filtered by address, county, zip code, name and proximity to a higher institution of learning.
What is Megan's Law?
Megan's Law is the term for state laws that create and keep up a sex offender registry, which provides information on registered sex offenders to the public. The first Megan's Law appeared after the rape and murder of 7-year-old New Jersey resident Megan Kanka by a sex offender who lived in the girl's own neighborhood. Soon after passage of this first Megan's Law, the federal government implemented a requirement that all states set up sex offender registries and offer the public with information about those registered. The Maryland Sex Offender Registry is one of many important tools that families can use to protect themselves, their children, and those they care for from people with criminal sexual behaviors.
What is a Serious Traffic Violation?
Serious traffic violations in Maryland are traffic infractions that incur steeper penalties than misdemeanor infractions. Serious traffic violations tend to include offenses that involve damage to property, serious bodily injury, death or disregard of public safety. Unlike some minor traffic violations which are payable offenses, serious traffic violations in Maryland are categorized as must-appear offenses. Individuals convicted of these offenses risk having their license suspended or revoked, depending on their driving history and severity of the violation. Examples of serious traffic violations in Maryland include:
- Automobile Manslaughter
- Evading the police
- Multiple DUIs
- DUI that leads to a fatality
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Driving while suspended
What is a Conviction Record?
A conviction record details the outcome of a criminal court case, if a person pleads guilty, is found guilty or pleaded no contest. The charges listed on the record may be categorized as a misdemeanor, felony, or any other offense. Convictions do not include a final judgment deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
What are Jail and Inmate Records?
Jail and inmate records are official documents of information about a person’s current and sometimes past inmate status. A person who is in jail or considered an inmate is someone deprived of his/her civil liberties while on trial for a crime, or a person serving a sentence after being convicted of a crime. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services maintains an inmate database that contains core information like the inmate’s name, incarceration date, expected release date, convicted offense and sometimes photos.
What are Parole Records?
Parole records in Maryland are an official document that includes information about the release of a prisoner who agreed to certain conditions before completion of their maximum sentence. While the prisoner is on supervised parole, the parole commission will require that the individual pays a monthly supervision fee. This fee cannot be less than $30 unless the board agrees to accept a lower fee after determining the inability of the prisoner to pay. The board may also impose any conditions of parole it deems necessary to ensure the best interests of the prisoner and the citizens of Maryland are served.
What are Maryland Probation Records?
Probation records are official documents that show when a person receives probation as an alternative to prison. Probation allows people convicted of a crime in Maryland to serve their sentences out of custody, as long as they follow probation conditions imposed by the judge and probation officer.
Probation is issued in proportion to the crime, so the length and nature of probation differ (sometimes drastically) from case to case. Probation typically falls into three categories: minimally supervised, supervised and intensive. An intensive is a form of very strict probation that emphasizes punishment and control of the offender within the community.
What are Maryland Juvenile Criminal Records?
A juvenile criminal record is an official record of information about criminal activity committed by children or adolescents who are not yet of legal adult age. Juveniles are not considered convicted of a crime like an adult but instead, are found “adjudicated delinquent”. These criminal records are often mistakenly thought to be erased or expunged once a person becomes of legal adult age, but in fact, the record remains unless the person petitions to have it expunged. If a person was found adjudicated delinquent to a criminal offense, they do not have to respond “yes” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, unless the question specifically asks if they were ever adjudicated delinquent as well.
Maryland History and Accuracy of Criminal Records
The accuracy of criminal records data largely depends on the recordkeeping and technological capabilities of the jurisdiction where the record was assembled and later digitized. Maryland's criminal records archives usually tend to go back as far as the early 1970s—which is when different institutions began to compile criminal and arrest data into an organized, centralized database, much like we use today. Accuracy was more commonly affected by human error in the past. However, in the 1990s the quality and accuracy of recordkeeping improved exponentially due to the advent of the computer. As a result, the information provided on StateRecords.org will vary from person to person.
The amount of criminal records information presented on StateRecords.org varies from person to person. This is because different sources often have non-standardized state level protocols, storage classifications, requirements, organization and digitization processes for data collection.