You have limited options to clear your criminal record through an expungement in Virginia. You are only eligible to do this if the charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty. However, this could be a good option if your criminal case was dismissed through an accord and satisfaction.
When Can You Get Your Criminal Charges Dismissed Through an Accord and Satisfaction?
Some criminal charges can be resolved through an accord and satisfaction where the accused makes things right with the victim and pays restitution to them, and the criminal case is dismissed. Under Virginia Code § 19.2-151, this is only an option if you are charged with certain misdemeanor offenses. Crimes that can be dismissed through an accord and satisfaction include assault and battery and other criminal offenses that also have a civil remedy, such as trespass, destruction of property, and obtaining money by false pretenses.
However, there are exceptions when criminal charges cannot be dismissed under this law. They include:
- Criminal acts against police officers
- Domestic violence crimes against family and household members
- Criminal offenses involving the intent to commit a felony
- Actions that are considered riotous conduct
What Is an Expungement?
When your criminal records are expunged in our Commonwealth, they are not destroyed. They are sealed and cannot be accessed by the public. In addition, you are able to treat the charges as if they never occurred. However, they can still be viewed by others, such as law enforcement officials, after obtaining court approval to do so.
You cannot obtain an expungement if you pled guilty and entered into a plea agreement or were convicted of a crime. You would be eligible to have a criminal charge expunged in these limited circumstances:
- You entered a plea of not guilty and were acquitted at a trial.
- You were found not guilty in a civil contempt action.
- The prosecutor decided to drop the charges against you and not prosecute you for any offense.
- Your criminal case was dismissed through an accord and satisfaction.
- The criminal charges against you were the result of you being the victim of identity theft.
- You were convicted of a crime but received an absolute pardon.
How to Obtain an Expungement of a Criminal Charge Dismissed Through an Accord and Satisfaction
If your criminal case is dismissed through an accord and satisfaction, the charges would not be automatically expunged from your criminal record. You would need to ask a judge to grant you an expungement. The prosecutor would have the opportunity to object to your request, but they would need to show good cause as to why an expungement should not be granted.
You must follow specific procedures and file certain paperwork when requesting an expungement. Here are the basic steps in the process:
- You must file a Petition for Expungement of a Criminal Record and a certified copy of the criminal charges you are requesting be expunged. You must file these documents in the Circuit Court in the county where you were charged with the misdemeanor offense.
- You must serve the petition and a certified copy of the criminal charges on the prosecutor.
- The prosecutor has 21 days to file a written response to your request.
- You will need to obtain a complete set of fingerprints from the police department. Wen requesting them, you will need to provide law enforcement officials with a copy of your petition. They will file your criminal record with the court.
- The court may schedule a hearing to consider your petition, and you would be required to be present at this hearing. After hearing arguments by the prosecutor and you, the judge would make a decision on whether to grant your request for an expungement.
- If you are granted an expungement, you will need to contact the local law enforcement department and state police to ensure that the expungement of your criminal charges is completed. As part of this process, your fingerprints should be returned to you.
Are you eligible for expungement of criminal charges filed against you? Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your request will be granted—even if the charges were dismissed through an accord and satisfaction. You need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you clear your criminal record and get the fresh start on your life that you need. To learn how we can help you, call our Manassas office or fill out the convenient online form on this page to schedule a free consultation today.