When you have a criminal record, it can make your life difficult. Whether it is applying for a job or renting an apartment, a background check revealing a criminal record can almost certainly lead to denial.
Fortunately, you may be able to have your record expunged or sealed, which conceals it from public view. Although your criminal records are not physically destroyed, expungement means that the information is treated as confidential, making it not available to most employers and landlords.
According to Virginia law, you may petition to have your records expunged under one of the following circumstances:
- You were acquitted of the crime at trial
- The charges against you were dismissed
- You were a party in a civil action who was arrested or charged with contempt of court, but found not guilty of the charge
- You were (1) charged with assault and battery or (2) a misdemeanor for which there is a civil remedy. The injured party is required to acknowledge to the court that the issue was satisfactorily resolved, and the case must have been discharged.
- Someone else committed the crime using your name or other identification
- You were convicted but subsequently granted an Absolute Pardon due to an unjust conviction
In order to request expungement of eligible records, you need to file a petition with the court in the city or county where your case was handled. Additionally, you must submit copies of the petition to the Commonwealth attorney of the same city or county and your local police station, where you need to get fingerprinted and request a copy of your criminal history report. When the court obtains all of the required information, it will hold a hearing to decide whether or not to expunge your record.