How a Skilled Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help Get Your Probation Before Judgment Expunged
Probation before judgment means that although someone is found guilty, the finding of guilty is taken back by the Court and the Defendant is not convicted. Convicted is a term of art, it means found guilty with the judgment left standing. It allows a Judge to essentially keep someone's record clean.
Someone who gets a Probation Before Judgment, often called a PBJ, is placed on probation with that stricken guilty finding is hanging over their head for a period of time. The length of probation depends on the offense, and can be up to 3 years in District Court or 5 years in Circuit Court. Once the Defendant successfully completes the probationary term, the PBJ remains on someone's record until it is expunged. But, unlike a guilty finding, it can be expunged.
During the probationary term of a PBJ, a Defendant is treated as any other probationer. They are told to do certain things, such as do not incur any additional criminal charges, and to not do certain things, like refrain from consuming alcohol. What a Defendant is told to do or not to do while on probation depends on the circumstances of the case.
If someone who receives a PBJ does something they are not supposed to do, or does not do something they were supposed to do, the Court can violate their probation after a hearing. If the Court decides to violate the probation, the PBJ can be stricken and the guilty finding put on someone's record, and the Defendant can receive any sentence they could have received when originally sentenced.
A PBJ has special importance in driving cases. If a Defendant receives a PBJ, the offense is not put on the "litigation" or "administrative" portions of their driving records, and they get no points from it. But, as with any other PBJ, a violation of the conditions during the probationary terms means the Judge can put points back on their driving record.