Virginia Expungement Lawyer

Virginia Expungement LawyerIn some jurisdictions, obtaining an expungement for an old criminal charge is a simple and easy process, while in others, you can be granted an expungement automatically upon requesting one. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the state of Virginia. The state has strict laws on granting an expungement application, with the individual requesting an expungement being required to first file an expungement application in circuit court.

Therefore, most clients requesting an expungement in the state usually find it best to rely on a skilled Virginia expungement lawyer who can review the petition to determine whether the applicant qualifies for record expungement and provide detailed advice on how the applicant should approach the process. To understand whether you qualify for record expungement, call our experienced Virginia expungement lawyer, Bississo Law, P.C., to set up a consultation that will likely kickstart the lodging of your expungement petition.

How Does an Expungement Work?

Before filing your expungement petition, it is important to understand what the results of a successful petition mean. If your expungement petition is granted in the Circuit Court, your court records pertaining to your charge(s) will be sealed, and records of your arrest removed from public records. An expungement will not permanently delete records of your past criminal charges. Still, your charge will not show up on most background checks and will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for members of the public to find.

The court can order your records unsealed for certain third parties, such as law enforcement officers, at any time. However, the electronic records on court websites will no longer appear for public members. Certain companies may also have data on your expunged records, but you can always liaise with these companies to ensure that the data is hidden from background checks in the future.

What Are the Requirements for Records to be Expunged in Virginia?

In Virginia, you can only get your records expunged if you were acquitted of the crime you were charged with or are granted an absolute pardon for a crime you committed. Note that not all types of cases can be granted an expungement. Section 19.2-392.2 of the Virginia Code states that you can only apply for your court and police records to be expunged if:

  • A jury or judge acquits you after pleading not guilty to committing a crime
  • You are found to be not guilty of contempt of court charge in a civil suit
  • In your case, the prosecution or state enters a “nolle prosequi” plea. This refers to when the prosecution drops your charges.
  • If your case is dismissed or “otherwise dismissed,” including where one party in an assault or misdemeanor case reports to the court that they got “satisfaction for the injury” (like when both parties in a case reach an out-of-court settlement)
  • Your case involves an identity theft situation where your identity has been stolen by a person who has been charged with a crime.
  • You receive an absolute pardon for your crimes.

Note that there are some situations where an expungement would be helpful. Still, it can be outside a judge’s purview to grant an expungement motion unless the case’s specifics make it fall under one of the statutory categories where an expungement application should be granted.

What is the Process of Getting an Expungement in Virginia?

Any experienced Virginia expungement lawyer will tell you that if your case fulfills the requirements for expungement that we have discussed above, then you can file an expungement petition in a circuit court within the jurisdiction where your criminal charges were filed.

Expungement petition application forms can be obtained in court. Additionally, you will need copies of the case outcome (disposition) to attach to the petition for expungement. Though it is not usually necessary to use the services of an attorney, it is advisable to engage one since they will explain the procedure you should follow to increase the chances of your petition getting accepted. In addition, should you be asked to provide evidence to bolster your motion, a seasoned expungement lawyer can help you put the requisite evidence forward in the best way possible.

Suppose you are charged with a misdemeanor and do not have any criminal charges on your record. In that case, a judge may grant your expungement application quickly because you do not need to show it would be a “manifest injustice” for the records to be open to the public. However, if you are to be charged with additional crimes or if you committed a felony offense, you may be required to demonstrate to the court that keeping your records available to the public would be equivalent to a “manifest injustice.” Under these circumstances, it is usually best to talk to a seasoned attorney who can review your case and help you obtain the evidence that the court may need to consider your expungement petition.

Consult Our Virginia Expungement Lawyers to Learn More About Getting Your Record Expunged

In some circumstances, determining whether you qualify for an expungement can be tricky. For example, if your case was dismissed, the unique details of the dismissal may impact your eligibility for an expungement. Our seasoned Virginia expungement lawyers will provide a case evaluation and act as your advocates during the expungement process to ensure you get your desired outcome.