What defines a Criminal Record in Maryland?
A criminal record is an official document that records a person’s criminal history. The information is assembled from local, county and state jurisdictions as well as trial courts, courts of appeals and county and state correctional facilities.
While the standard for criminal record collection and storage varies from county to county, a large percentage of Maryland criminal records are organized in online record depositories that are available to the public in the form of a Criminal Background Report. This report is accessed through a number of courts, police departments, and the official Maryland State Records Online Database.
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. Criminal records in the state of Maryland generally include the following subjects:
Maryland Arrest Records
An arrest record is an official document providing information about a person questioned, apprehended, taken into custody, or placed in detention. It also includes information about persons held for investigation and/or charged with, indicted or tried for any felony, misdemeanor or any other offense by any law enforcement or military authority. In Maryland, an arrest can result in someone being cited—or ticketed—by a police officer, federal officer or being booked into county jail.
Maryland Arrest Warrants
An arrest warrant is an official document signed and issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the local and state jurisdictions. It authorizes a police officer to arrest or detain the person or people named in the warrant or to search and seize the individual’s property. 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.
A misdemeanor is a non-indictable offense and is generally less severe than felonies. However, like felonies, a misdemeanor charge is classified by a number-based system designed to describe the severity of the alleged crime. Maryland misdemeanors carry sentences as high as ten years imprisonment but are less serious crimes than felonies. Maryland does not classify its misdemeanor crimes into separate classes. Misdemeanor crimes in Maryland include assault in the second degree, stalking, harassment, theft of property or services valued at less than $1,000, carrying a concealed dangerous weapon, and driving under the influence.
A felony offense is a criminal conviction with a maximum 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.
Maryland Sex Offender Listing
A sex offender listing is a registry of persons convicted of committing a sex crime. In most cases, jurisdictions compile their laws into sections, such as traffic, assault and sexual. The laws in the state of Maryland categorize sex crimes into first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses. The lenght 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. A judge may order an adult to register as a sex offender
if the crime they were convicted of involves sexual motivation
Maryland Serious Traffic Violation
A serious traffic violation tends to involve willful disregard for public safety, death, serious bodily injury, damage to property and multiple minor traffic violations. If you receive a traffic ticket in Maryland, you are required to pay a fine (shown on your ticket) and you may also receive other penalties. Depending on your driver's license type, driving history, and severity of your violation, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
may add points to the driving records. If you accumulate too many points, you could risk a driver's license suspension or revocation.
Maryland Conviction Records
A conviction record is a document providing information that a person is found guilty, pleaded guilty or pleaded no contest to criminal charges in a civilian or military court. The criminal charges may be classified as a felony, misdemeanor or other offense. Conviction also includes a person judged delinquent and less than honorably discharged or placed on probation, fined, imprisoned or paroled. A criminal conviction is rendered by either a jury of peers or a judge in a court of law. A conviction does not include a final judgment deleted by a pardon, set aside, reversed or otherwise rendered inoperative.
Maryland 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.
Maryland Parole Information
Parole records 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 he/she 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.
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.
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 the 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.
Maryland 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.