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New law gives some a second chance in Maryland

New law gives some a second chance in Maryland

MARYLAND - Possessing a controlled dangerous substance, malicious destruction of property and prostitution are some of the charges that you'll be able to get shielded from the public starting Thursday under Maryland's Second Chance Act.

Local attorney Luke Rommel said the move will help those who have been held back by a prior conviction move on with their lives.

"It's going to give people a second chance who have made a mistake and who maybe have picked up a conviction for a non-violent offense that would typically disqualify them from obtaining a job," Rommel said.

However, not all are in favor of this change in law.

Christopher Smith, president of the Princess Anne Chamber of Commerce said he understands why lawmakers want to offer a second chance to some, but questions whether it puts the employer in a situation where they can't properly screen a potential employee.

For example Smith said employers in certain health care fields could be left in the dark if they hired someone without knowing of a past drug conviction.

"(Say) someone that was hiring for in home care for the elderly and then next thing you know this employee is stealing out of the medicine cabinet because they had a problem, have a problem," Smith said. 

He points out that in this instance if an employer had knowledge of the drug charge prior to hiring, that type of problem could be avoided.

Rommel errs on the side that those given a second chance will make the best of it. He tells 47 ABC, to get these convictions shielded would require a person to fill out legal paperwork, meaning they're ready to put their past behind them.

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