judge reading over order for record to be expunged or expungement

How Can I Get my Criminal Record Expunged in Virginia?

  1. First of all, what exactly is an expungement?

Expungement is the removal of a criminal charge from your record. After a Judge signs the Order to Expunge your criminal charge, it is removed from both your police record and the Court’s record.  After this, you may honestly and legally deny the existence of your expunged record.  Also, you may not be denied any permit, license, or employment based upon the expunged records.

It is important to note, however, your expunged records may be disclosed for purposes of employment application in connection to employment with a law-enforcement agency or for purposes of a pending criminal investigation where such investigation would be jeopardized or that life or property will be endangered absent access to your record. (Virginia Code §19.2-392.3).

  1. Do the records just disappear?

No. When a record is expunged, the record is not destroyed but removed from public access and sealed.

  1. Am I eligible to get my records expunged?

If you were charged and then acquitted, charged and then your case was nolle prosequi (literally “unwilling to pursue”), or if you were granted an absolute pardon, you may petition for an expungement of your records. Additionally, if your name or other identification was used without your consent or authorization by another person who has been charged or arrested using your name or identification, you may be eligible for an expungement of your records. (Virginia Code §19.2-92.2).

  1. What records may be expunged?

Under Virginia Code §19.2-392.2, an eligible person may petition for the expungement of police and court records relating to the charge expunged.  Then the division with control of DNA records will be required to purge all records and identifiable information in its data bank pertaining to the person and destroy all samples from the person.  However, the only way these agencies can accomplish the expungement is by both a written request for expungement pursuant to the Virginia Code and a certified copy of the court order reversing and dismissing the conviction. (Virginia Code §19.2-310.7).

  1. How do I get records expunged?

If a Writ Vacating a Conviction is granted, the Court will automatically forward a copy of the Writ to the circuit court, and no petition is necessary.

The documents for completion of the Writ are as follows:

  1. One (1) original Petition for Expungement of Record and a certified copy of the charge with the disposition of the charge(s) requested to be expunged.
    2. Four (4) additional copies of the Petition for Expungement and charge(s) with the disposition of the charges requested to be expunged.

Copies of the Petition will be served on the Commonwealth Attorney and then you will retain copies to provide to the County/City Police Department.  You’ll also need to get a fingerprint card which must be the original for each expungement you attempt to receive.  Upon receipt of the Order of Expungement from the Court, the Police Department will forward your Petition and fingerprint card to the State Police who will, if your Order was approved and entered by the Court, have a copy of your final Order of Expungement and will complete the process absent any further action from you.  This process normally takes about two to three months and it is important to be proactive with the Court, the Police Department and the State Police Department to ensure your Expungement is accomplished as soon as possible.

If you believe you are eligible for an expungement, or even if you aren’t sure, feel free to give us a call at 757-656-1000 or email us at info@attorneyholcomb.com and we would be happy to discuss the possibility of expungement more in-depth, or give you a copy of our eBook Expungement in Virginia: Why Do I Care?. We are happy to help!