Expungement is the legal process by which an individual’s police and court records are permanently removed from the public eye and sealed. This process varies by state, and in Virginia the final disposition of a criminal charge determines whether or not the charge qualifies for an expungement. If your charge is successfully expunged, this means your charge is no longer visible to the public (including potential employers). The state of Virginia only permits the expungement of a person’s criminal record if that individual was granted an absolute pardon by a judge. However, you may still qualify for an expungement in Virginia if.
- you were arrested, but you were not charged with a crime
- you were charged with a crime, but not convicted of the crime
Refer to Virginia Code § 19.2-392.2. Expungement of police and court records. Look up the current status or the final disposition of a charge online at:
- General District Court
- Circuit Court
Your criminal charge, such as a DUI or DWI, may be expunged in Virginia if the final disposition of the criminal charge resulted in one of the following….
- you were charged with a crime, but found not guilty or you were acquitted of said charge
- you were charged with a crime, but the charge was dismissed or noelle prosequi (not prosecuted)
- you were charged with a crime, but the charge was “otherwise dismissed” by accord & satisfaction
- you were charged with a crime, but you are innocent of the crime (i.e. someone committed a crime using your name without your consent)
Note there is no statute of limitations for having a charge expunged. You may file a petition for expungement years after the case is concluded, or immediately after you were acquitted.If You Were Convicted of a Crime
If you were convicted of a criminal charge in Virginia that you did not commit and were later granted an absolute pardon, your charge may be expunged. If you entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty, you are not eligible for an expungement.How to File a Petition for Expungement
Complete instructions for filing a petition for expungement in Virginia can be found here.
The process of filing a petition for expungement varies depending on the jurisdiction in Virginia. The paperwork and filing fees must be submitted to the Circuit Court Civil Division Clerk in the jurisdiction in which you were charged. Most petitioners choose to hire an attorney to handle this process, but the Court does permit individuals to file their petitions pro se (representing yourself). Once you’ve determined that you are eligible for an expungement, you will need to complete the following:
- Cover Sheet
- Filing Fees
- Service Fees
- An original Petition for Expungement of Record for each charge
- Certified Copy of the warrant or summons of each charge with the disposition of the charge(s) you wish to be expunged
- Order of Expungement CC-1474 form for each charge
- Petition for Expungement Acquittal/Dismissal CC-1473 form for each charge OR Petition for Expungement Absolute Pardon CC-1472 form for each charge.
Once you’ve submitted the above documents with the Circuit Court Clerk, you will need to go to the appropriate police department to obtain a new set of fingerprints. The police department will require a copy of the CC-1473 or CC-1472 form.The Expungement Hearing
Once the court has received and processed the necessary documents and fees, a hearing for your petition will be scheduled. You (plaintiff) as well and the Commonwealth’s Attorney (defendant) will be allowed to have witnesses and evidence. If the judge believes "the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner," the judge will enter an order of expungement of records as shown in Virginia Code §19.2-392.2. Moreover, if you (the petitioner) have a clean criminal record and the charge in question is a misdemeanor offense, the expungement will be granted.Why Should I Consider Having My Record Expunged?
There are numerous reasons why expunging your record benefits you in the long run. The primary reasons people petition to have their criminal records expunged are:
- Employer Background Check
- College or University Background Checks
- Approval for Volunteer Work
The expungement process in Virginia is detailed, time-consuming and often stressful. Robinson Law, PLLC handles the process for you. Call us today for a free evaluation (703) 542-4008.