Expunging a conviction means that the crime is purged from the record and legally it is as if it never existed. Expunged convictions allow a person to legally state that a record does not exist if questioned about it.
In the state of Virginia, expungement for a conviction may be obtained under the following circumstances:
- The criminal charges against the defendant were dropped, or if the defendant was acquitted or was granted an absolute pardon
- Another defendant was arrested using the person’s name or identification (i.e., identity theft)
- The offense was for a first-time misdemeanor
- DNA records may be purged and samples of DNA may be destroyed through the expungement process
- Juvenile records are routinely expunged after a set period of time. Also, juvenile records may be destroyed if the case was dismissed or if a court concluded that the defendant was innocent
However, please note that even if a conviction has been expunged, information regarding the records can still be obtained in the following situations:
- The conviction record is necessary for a pending criminal investigation
- The record is necessary for an investigation in which life or property will be in jeopardy unless immediate access to the record is granted
- Expunged records can still be disclosed for some employment application purposes, especially those involving government or law enforcement positions
Persons who wish to have a criminal conviction expunged my petition directly in person or by mail through the County Circuit Court system of Virginia. A petition involves a filing and services fees, as well as submission of important documents. Such documents may include multiple copies of the form “Petition for Expungement of Record” and a certified copy of the charges involved in the request.
Do I need a lawyer to expunge a conviction in Virginia?
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