Having a permanent criminal record can have long-term consequences on a person’s ability to obtain a job, housing, security clearance, and much more. This can be especially devastating for a juvenile who may be a good kid and have just made a foolish mistake due to their lack of maturity. Fortunately, a minor may be able to obtain an expungement of their juvenile charges from their criminal record.
What Is an Expungement?
An expungement is the removal of all police and court records of criminal charges from view by the public. However, an expungement does not result in the destruction of criminal records. If a judge permits it, these records can still be seen by law enforcement officials.
How Expungement of Juvenile Criminal Records in Virginia Works
For adults charged with a crime, their right to an expungement is limited. However, this is not true for many juveniles. Here are some important rules about expungement of juvenile records:
- A juvenile may be able to get a criminal charge expunged even if they were found delinquent, which is what being found guilty is called in juvenile proceedings.
- Many charges and convictions will be automatically expunged when the juvenile turns 19 years old if the last hearing in the criminal case occurred at least five years ago.
- If the minor was convicted of a crime that would have been a felony if they were an adult, their criminal records will not automatically be expunged. They would need to file a petition requesting an expungement.
- A minor can apply for an expungement before they are 19 years old if the offense involved a delinquency or traffic proceeding, and they were acquitted or the charges were otherwise dismissed.
- The standard of proof is different in a juvenile expungement case than an adult expungement case. The prosecutor would have to prove good cause to deny the expungement—even if the conviction was a felony.
- Some criminal offenses related to the operation of a motor vehicle will be automatically removed from a juvenile’s DMV record when they turn 29 years old.
Was your child charged with a crime as a juvenile? Are you an adult with a juvenile criminal record? Let our experienced expungement legal team help you clear your record so that you get a fresh start in your life. To learn more about how we can help, fill out the form on this page or call my Manassas office to schedule your free consultation.