If the police charge someone with a crime, that person may not realize that it still appears in a criminal record even if the charge is dropped. This could lead to a potential employer or landlord rejecting an application after a background check. A person with this problem is now faced with the task of expunging the charge from their record so it does not hinder any future prospects.
If this has happened to you, your first step should be consulting with a Dumfries expungement lawyer. However, the law does not allow all criminal matters to be erased. Speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to see what steps you will need to take to clear up your record. Although there are costs associated with the process, the long-term benefits may be invaluable.
One of the most significant limitations of expungement law is that the government only expunges charges that resulted in dismissal or acquittal. If the court found the actor guilty, then those charges cannot be erased.
The Code of Virginia in §19.2-392.2 states that if the government charged a person with a crime and the court acquits that person, or the government dismisses the charges, that person may request that the government clear their police and court records.
The process begins with a petition. The petition must include the following:
The petitioner must file in the Circuit Court of the county or city where the original charges occurred and must serve the petition on the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
At a hearing, the court will determine if the criminal record constitutes an injustice to the petitioner. If the petitioner had no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor, the court likely presumes the inequity, unless the government shows good cause not to expunge the record.
If the Commonwealth’s Attorney gives written notice that they do not object to the petition of expungement, and the underlying charge was a misdemeanor, the court can erase the record without a hearing. If the matter involved a felony, the petitioner or the attorney on his/her behalf will also need to show a judge that allowing the charge to remain on the record would be an injustice to the petitioner.
When the police arrest a person, a criminal record is created. Even if the person was later found not guilty or the government dismissed the charges, that person will still have an arrest on their record. The defense process is not complete until the criminal history is cleared.
Anyone who does background checks may see the arrest and judge that person because of it. Landlords may refuse to rent apartments, potential employers may reject job applicants, and government agencies may withhold benefits. A petitioner might wish to seek help with expungement from a quality attorney so that their past does not affect their future.
An arrest without a conviction should not ruin your life. Find out what you can do to clear your record with the help of a Dumfries expungement lawyer. Though the process can be complicated, a competent attorney might be able to aid you in filing a petition and showing the court why they should order your record expunged. Call today to discuss your situation further.
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