Expungement In Virginia
What is an expungement? An expungement is the clearing of all court and police records relating to an arrest and charges of crimes for which you were ultimately exonerated. The records will literally be wiped from the computer databases, as if they never existed.
What will an expungement do for me? An expungment allows you to legally state that you were never arrested or charged with the particular crime, the records of which have been expunged. When completing questions on job or school applications about whether you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, you can honestly answer “no” regarding any charges that have been expunged. Furthermore, an expungement prevents anyone else who knows about the expungement from revealing the existence of the charges. To do so itself is a crime.
What types of cases are eligible for an expungement? Only those cases in which the charges were dropped by the prosecutor, or where you were found not guilty after a trial, or which were “otherwise dismissed” are eligible for expungement. If you pled guilty, you are not eligible to have that record expunged. Most dismissals, unfortunately, do not qualify under the “otherwise dismissed” category because they usually involve a guilty plea as part of an agreement for the charges to later be dismissed. For instance, if you performed community service, were ordered to attend anger management, or paid restitution, you are probably not eligible for an expungement. To know for sure whether or not your case qualifies for expungement, call for a free consultation with a lawyer.
What is the process for obtaining an expungement? The expungement process involves filing a Petition in the Circuit Court of the county in which the charge was brought. Then you must get fingerprinted at a police station. The fingerprints are processed by the state police and forwarded to the court. Once the fingerprints are received, a hearing can be scheduled wherein the attorney for the Commonwealth may object to the expungement. Our attorneys can help you present your case to the judge as to why the expungement should be granted.