703 468-1885


703 468-1885

How does expungement work in Virginia?

How does expungement work in Virginia?

Have you had a criminal charge, such as DUI, assault or larceny, dismissed or nolle prossed?  Have the charges on your record affected your employment or a security clearance?  If so, you may be wondering, “How does expungement work in Virginia?”

The Irving Law Firm, P.C. has been assisting clients for decades, approaching each case with dedication and personal attention.

Keep reading to learn more about DUI expungement possibilities in Virginia.

Or call 703.468.1885 to speak with a knowledgeable defense attorney.

What Does Expungement Mean?

Before we address how expungement works, it’s important to define the term.

Did you know that having a felony, or even misdemeanor, charge on your record could prevent you from attending college, renting an apartment, or even finding a job?  Background checks are prevalent in most application processes, and the slightest presence of criminal records can make it harder to progress through life.

Expungement is a legal proceeding that seals criminal records from public availability.  It can be awarded to those who petition for it and were acquitted, had their cases nolle prosequied, or otherwise dismissed outright.  However, the court will not grant an expungement if you obtained your dismissal after a plea of guilty.  This can occur if you have obtained a deferred disposition such as a first offender disposition, an 18.2-251 disposition, or a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS).  While those dispositions allow for a dismissal upon completion of certain requirements, they are not eligible for expungement and will remain on your record.  This is often an important consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a disposition of this nature.

What Kinds of Charges Can be Expunged?

In Virginia, any criminal charge can be expunged if the charges have been dismissed or nolle prosequied. However, there are different standards applied to your request for expungement based on your circumstances.If you have been charged with a misdemeanor and you have no prior criminal convictions, the court will grant you an expungement unless the Commonwealth’s Attorney can establish that there is good cause to not grant the expungement.

If you have been charged with a felony or if you have been charged with a misdemeanor and you have previously been convicted of a crime, the court will only grant you an expungement if you can establish that continued existence of the charges on your record causes or could cause a manifest injustice to you.  This means that if your previous charge has made it difficult for you to find work or has otherwise caused you difficulty even though you were not convicted of the offense, you are eligible for an expungement.

In Virginia, How Does Expungement Work?

In order to obtain an expungement, you will need a certified copy of all warrants and indictments that you wish to have expunged.  Your next step will be to file the following items:

  1. Five copies of a petition for expungement along with the certified copies of your warrant.
  2. A proposed order of expungement.
  3. A request for a hearing (depending on the jurisdiction).
  4. A filing fee.

Once you have filed the above items, you will need to take a copy of the petition to your local police department to have your fingerprints taken and sent to Virginia’s Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE).  In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints taken at a local law enforcement agency and submitted to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) along with one copy of the petition.

Once the Virginia State Police have prepared a report based on your fingerprint submission, you will have a hearing in the Circuit Court.  The Circuit Court judge will determine if your charges will be expunged.  If the judge orders that your charges are to be expunged, he will enter an order which will be forwarded to the Virginia State Police.  The State Police will affect the expungement by having all records of your arrest sealed.  This process takes between three to six months.

Once your charges have been expunged you do not have to reveal your charges to colleges, landlords, or employers.

Time is Critical

If you’d like more answers about expungement or other criminal law help, then contact the attorneys at The Irving Law Firm, P.C. today.  You can call our firm at 703-468-1885 or contact us by clicking here.

We have years of experience helping people like you through the process of expunging criminal charges from their record in the Virginia area, including Manassas, Reston, Fairfax, and Arlington.

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