Unfortunately, your right to clear your criminal and police records through an expungement of criminal charges is extremely limited in Virginia. You are only entitled to this relief if you were arrested but not convicted of the crime. One situation where you could be eligible for an expungement is where the prosecutor decided not to pursue your criminal case through a nolle prosequi.
Why the Prosecutor Could Decide to Dismiss Your Charges
Nolle prosequi is a Latin term that means “will no longer prosecute.” When the prosecutor asks the court to grant a nolle prosequi, they are requesting that the criminal charges be dismissed. They could decide not to prosecute you for these reasons:
- There is insufficient evidence to prove your guilt.
- Witnesses are no longer available or are unwilling to cooperate.
- New evidence has been discovered.
- Your charges were minor and you corrected the violations.
- Dismissal by nolle prosequi is part of a plea agreement.
If the criminal charges are dismissed through a nolle prosequi, the prosecutor could still refile these charges against you. However, it is unlikely that they would re-prosecute you.
Your Right to an Expungement
If the prosecutor’s request for a nolle prosequi is granted, you may have a right to have the criminal charges against you expunged from your criminal and police records. However, an expungement would not occur automatically.
You would have to file a petition with the court and ask the judge to grant your request. There is no guarantee that the judge would agree to expunge the criminal offenses since you would not have been found innocent if your case was dismissed due to the Commonwealth’s decision not to prosecute you.
However, you can increase the likelihood that an expungement would be granted if you retain an experienced expungement lawyer to file your petition and represent you at the hearing on your request. To learn how our skilled legal team can help you, fill out our convenient online form or start a live chat to schedule your free consultation today.