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NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Sep 09, 2022

National Criminal Defense Bar Partners with Community Groups to Offer Marylanders Free Advice on How to Clear Criminal Records

Washington, DC (Sept. 9, 2022) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is partnering with Maryland organizations to offer free advice and resources on how to expunge, clear, or seal eligible criminal records.

NACDL, the American Job Center, Western Maryland Consortium, Maryland Legal Aid, Area Health Education Center West (AHEC West), Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), United Food & Commerical Workers International Union (UFCW), Allegany County Human Resources Development Commision (HRDC), and Maryland Department of Human Services (DHS) will host an Allegany County Expungement Clinic on Friday, September 30 from 1pm–3:30pm ET. The clinic will take place at the American Job Center, located at 138 Baltimore St., Suite 102 in Cumberland, Maryland.

What is expungement?

Expungement is the legal process of removing a criminal record, including arrests and convictions, from the public record. However, expungements are often not widely available and are difficult to obtain due to legal, procedural, and financial barriers.

Expungement laws and processes vary by state and county, which makes clearing criminal records a complex task, generally requiring the assistance of an attorney to help determine eligibility for relief and to navigate the process to seek relief.

To help mitigate the process, NACDL partners with organizations across the nation to host expungement clinics.

What are the benefits?

At a time when nearly one in three U.S. adults – or more than 77 million Americans – have a criminal record, it is crucial to provide the type of post-conviction relief granted through expungement. These individuals have paid their debts to society but are still burdened with the collateral consequences of their convictions. With a criminal record, people are left in a permanent cycle of punishment while trying to navigate a system that constantly denies them access to fundamental rights, such as employment, housing, voting, education, and more. Expungement is essential to remove these barriers so that people who qualify can be offered a meaningful second chance.

Who can attend?

Individuals with criminal records in Maryland are invited to attend the clinic. No registration is required, and the expungement resources and services will be offered for free for people whose criminal records qualify for expungement. People seeking a free evaluation and support in clearing their qualifying criminal records are encouraged to bring their Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) records, if possible. Refreshments and additional resources will be provided.

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NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Founded in 1958, NACDL is the largest organization for criminal defense lawyers fighting to preserve fairness within America's criminal justice system. The organization has more than 10,000 direct members including criminal defense attorneys in private practice, public defenders in state or federal court, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges.