An expungement is the process of removing criminal charges from your criminal record so that you do not face the harsh consequences of having a permanent criminal record. Before you can file a petition with the court requesting an expungement, you will need to obtain a copy of your criminal record to determine if you qualify for it.
When Can You Get an Expungement in Virginia?
When a criminal charge is expunged, it is sealed from public view, and you do not to report that you have a criminal record to employers and others unless you have another criminal offense or conviction on your record. Only certain criminal charges are eligible for expungement in Virginia:
- You pled not guilty and were acquitted at trial.
- You were charged with contempt of court in a civil case and were found not guilty.
- The prosecutor decided not to continue to prosecute you in a criminal case. This is referred to as nolle prosequi.
- You were charged with assault and battery or another misdemeanor offense where you faced civil liability and the victim signed a statement that you fully compensated them. In addition, any case was dismissed.
- The charges against you were the result of identity theft.
- You were granted a full pardon after being convicted of a crime.
How to Obtain Criminal Records in Virginia
There is no automatic right to an expungement in our state. You will need a copy of your criminal record to determine if you can obtain an expungement and attach it to the petition you would need to file asking the judge to grant your request. Here are ways you can obtain your criminal record:
Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE)
The CCRE is the agency that maintains criminal records in Virginia. You can obtain both your state and FBI records from them.
You can obtain a Record Request Form on their website or through the Virginia State Police. You would need to complete and mail to them with the required fee and a fingerprint card. Depending on what records you are requesting, the cost is currently between $13 and $37. It will take approximately 15 to 20 business days to get your criminal records from them.
Local Court or Police Department
You may also be able to obtain a copy of your criminal record through your local police or district court. You would need to contact them to find out their procedures and fees.
If you want to be successful in obtaining an expungement, you need the help of a skilled expungement attorney. Call my Manassas office or fill out the form on this page to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can assist you.