Expungements in Virginia – What does the Law say?

Expungement is an action to remove all of the police and court records relating to any criminal case when any of the following points have occurred:

Acquittal, dismissal (including dismissals pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-151), nolle prosequi, a person’s name used in error and wrong person arrested, or absolute pardon (Virginia Code § 19.2-392.2 (H)) or identification used without agreement (Virginia Code § 19.2-392.2 (B)). Expungement is not accessible for those criminal cases that resulted in delayed dismissal following a finding of proof sufficient to convict the offender. When a record is expunged, the record is not demolished but removed from public access and sealed. Although, a government official can always have access towards it and so does the law enforcement agency member.

“A. If a person is charged with the commission of a crime or any offense defined in Title 18.2, and

  1. Is acquitted, or
  2. A nolle prosequi is taken or the charge is otherwise dismissed, including dismissal by accord and satisfaction pursuant to § 19.2-151, he may file a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge.
  3. If any person whose name or other identification has been used without his consent or authorization by another person who has been charged or arrested using such name or identification, he may file a petition with the court disposing of the charge for relief pursuant to this section. Such person shall not be required to pay any fees for the filing of a petition under this subsection. A petition filed under this subsection shall include one complete set of the petitioner’s fingerprints obtained from a law-enforcement agency.
  4. The petition with a copy of the warrant or indictment if reasonably available shall be filed in the circuit court of the county or city in which the case was disposed of by acquittal or being otherwise dismissed and shall contain, except where not reasonably available, the date of arrest and the name of the arresting agency. Where this information is not reasonably available, the petition shall state the reason for such unavailability. The petition shall further state the specific criminal charge to be expunged, the date of final disposition of the charge as set forth in the petition, the petitioner’s date of birth, and the full name used by the petitioner at the time of arrest.”

How to file Expungement?

In Virginia, even if you are declared innocent of a crime, your appeal for expungement may be denied by the prosecutors. Previous criminal convictions may influence the court’s disposition. Hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer of Virginia to help your expungement case is an important concern the defendant should consider.