In Virginia, if you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense and were not convicted (i.e. you were found not guilty, or the charge was otherwise dismissed or “nolle prossed”), you may be eligible for an expungement. An expungement is a process that involves sealing or erasing police and court records regarding the arrest and charge.
Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.2 provides the details regarding eligibility and the process of requesting an expungement in Virginia courts.
Eligibility for Expungement in Virginia:
As mentioned above, you may be eligible to file a petition for an expungement of your arrest and court records if:
- You were acquitted of the charge (i.e. you were found not guilty)
- The charge was nolle-prossed or otherwise dismissed
- Your identity was used by another person who was charged with an offense using your identity
- You received an absolute pardon
Legal Standard for Granting or Denying Petitions for Expungements in Virginia:
Assuming you are eligible to file a petition, will the Court actually grant your request? It depends on the type of charge and the circumstances. As set forth in the statute (Virginia Code Section 19.2-392.2), here is the standard:
- “If the court finds that the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner, it shall enter an order requiring the expungement of the police and court records, including electronic records, relating to the charge. Otherwise, it shall deny the petition. However, if the petitioner has no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor violation, the petitioner shall be entitled, in the absence of good cause shown to the contrary by the Commonwealth, to expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge, and the court shall enter an order of expungement.”
Richmond Expungement Attorneys:
If you are seeking an expungement, it would be wise to contact an attorney to discuss your case. The Virginia criminal defense attorneys at BoykoNapier can help guide you through the entire process. Our attorneys represent clients throughout Central Virginia, including Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover, and the surrounding localities. Our lawyers would be happy to meet with you to discuss your circumstances. Contact our office at (804) 658-3418 or via email.