If you have been arrested in Virginia, you have a public criminal record. Potential employers, professional licensing agencies, schools, and even your family and friends can see it. Because a criminal record could cause problems in your professional and personal life, you may want to consider filing for expungement of your record from public access.
Sealing Your Record
In Virginia, expungement is the same as sealing your records. When your criminal history is expunged, it is removed from public view. Your record will not show up if you’re the subject of a public search. The records are not destroyed; rather, they are sealed. Only Virginia law enforcement personnel and the courts can access your criminal record.
Getting Your Juvenile Record Expunged
Virginia handles juvenile criminal records differently. If you committed a crime before turning 18, it’s likely you can get your record expunged. Once you turn 19 and five years have passed since the conclusion of your case, your juvenile records are automatically expunged. The only exceptions are for violent felonies and motor vehicle violations. In these cases, the records are expunged when you turn 29.
In addition, when juvenile records are expunged, they’re destroyed completely. Your case is treated as though it never happened. If there is ever an inquiry about the case, both the court and the person who committed the crime can respond that no record exists.
You can have only one record expunged in your lifetime, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney prior to filing a petition for expungement.
Qualifying for Expungement
Your records are not expunged simply because you request that they be sealed from public view. However, there are certain circumstances that make you eligible for expungement, including:
- If you were acquitted of all charges without pleading nolo contender (no contest).
- The charge was not prosecuted, and it was formally abandoned with a motion of nolle prosequi.
- The charge was made against someone who used your name and identity in his criminal case.
- You received an Absolute Pardon for what was determined to be an unjust conviction.
- If your case was dismissed.
Filing the Request
Easley Law Firm can guide you through the detailed petitioning process and support your request for expungement in court. Complete our online form, or call toll free at 1-888-386-3898 to get started.