The right to an expungement of a criminal record is very limited in Virginia. A person is only entitled to have a criminal charge expunged if the charges were dismissed or they were found not guilty of the crime. If they were found guilty or pled guilty in a plea agreement, they would not be eligible for an expungement. However, there is an exception to this rule if an individual is granted a pardon.
Three Types of Pardons in Virginia
All requests for a pardon are decided by the Governor in our state. They will not necessarily result in an expungement of a criminal charge. There are three types of pardons in Virginia:
- Absolute pardon. An absolute pardon is based on the defendant’s actual innocence and unfair conviction. This is the rarest type of pardon and will result in the expungement of the criminal charge.
- Conditional pardon. Conditional pardons are only available when an individual is incarcerated and is granted when extraordinary circumstances are present. If a defendant receives a pardon, they would be released from jail or prison early, but the criminal charge would not be removed from their record.
- Simple pardon. A simple pardon is the most common type of pardon and is a forgiveness of the crime by the Governor. A person must wait five years after all terms of their sentence has been completed to apply for this type of pardon. However, it would not result in an expungement of the offense.
How a Conditional and Simple Pardon Can Help You Get a Fresh Start on Your Life
Although you cannot get the criminal charge expunged when you are granted a conditional or simple pardon, a notation will be placed on your criminal record that the crime has been forgiven. This can be a great help when applying for college or a job and could be a good option if you are not able to get a criminal offense expunged.
Do you have questions about whether you are eligible for a pardon? Need help applying for a pardon? Start a live chat or call our Manassas office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our expungement legal team to learn how we can assist you.