Expungement or Sealing of Virginia Criminal Records
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is likely that you do have a criminal record, even if you were ultimately found not guilty or the prosecutor dropped the charges. The record of your arrest will still be there, and in most cases is available to the public and can show up on background checks. The solution to this problem is expungement.
Your Virginia criminal record may be expunged if:
- you were charged with a crime, but found not guilty
- the charges against you were dismissed, dropped, or “nolle prossed”
- your name or other identification was used without your consent to commit a crime.
If you were convicted (found guilty or pled guilty) of a crime in Virginia, your record cannot be expunged unless the Governor of Virginia grants you an absolute pardon based on your actual innocence. This is very uncommon, and if you were actually convicted or pled guilty, the chances of getting a pardon are very slim.
People who wish to have their arrest record expunged must file a petition with the circuit court in the city or county where the charge was dismissed, along with a complete set of fingerprints. A copy of the petition is also filed with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for that city or county, and the petition must include information on the specific charge to be expunged, the date of the final disposition of the charge, the petitioner’s date of birth, and the full name of the petitioner at the time of the arrest. Sometimes a court hearing will take place, with the Commonwealth, to determine whether the expungement order should be granted. It is always a good idea to have a criminal defense attorney file and track your expungement to minimize the risk of any problems and to be sure the expungement gets transmitted to all the state agencies needed to ensure the arrest is actually removed from your record.
An expungement can help you get your life back and prevent problems in seeking jobs and obtaining security clearance.
Contact us for a free consultation and flat-fee price quote for getting your arrest record in Virginia expunged. We serve clients in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, and throughout Hampton Roads.