A criminal conviction is likely to impact your future well beyond any jail or prison time that you may serve. Following a conviction for any criminal offense, your permanent criminal record likely will appear on background checks by employers, landlords, and even if you try to volunteer at school for your child.
In some situations, however, a Mecklenburg County expungement lawyer may be able to help you expunge your records so that these unwanted records do not appear every time you undergo a criminal background check.
Although you cannot clear your record of a criminal conviction, you can ask a court to remove any written documentation of criminal charges of which you were acquitted or which the court dismissed. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you whether your records are eligible under state law.
Although these remedies are more limited in Virginia than they are in some other states, there are criminal records that are eligible for expungement in some situations. When individuals face criminal charges, for instance, records of those charges remain even if a judge or jury ultimately finds them not guilty of the crime, or if the prosecutor dismisses the charges against them. Expungement may be a remedy for these records in many circumstances.
State law does not, however, provide for expungement of any criminal cases involving a conviction, whether a judge or jury found individuals guilty of a crime, or they voluntarily pled guilty to a crime. Even if the individuals served no jail time and received a term of probation, they still cannot expunge their records, even for traffic charges.
Under Va. Code § 19.2-392.2, expungement of both police or arrest records and court records may occur in the following circumstances:
Although the records eligible for expungement are very limited, the process still may be helpful to some individuals who wish to clean up their criminal records. All too often, employers and schools may pass over individuals with prior arrest and criminal records, regardless of an acquittal or dismissal. As a result, an experienced lawyer in Mecklenburg County may be able to evaluate each situation and determine whether expungement is a potential remedy.
Individuals must file a petition in the court in the city or county in which they were arrested or faced criminal charges. If the expungement request is due to identity theft, then individuals must file the petition in the same court that heard the original criminal case. Accompanying these petitions must be a copy of their fingerprints and a copy of the criminal charges that individuals wish to expunge.
The court will schedule a hearing regarding petitions. If the request is for a misdemeanor arrest or charge, and the individuals have no prior criminal record, the court must assume that the petition is valid. In any case, if the attorney for the Commonwealth objects to the requested dismissal, the individuals must show good cause.
If the court chooses to expunge the records as requested, it must find that there is good cause, that the individuals have met all requirements of the statute, and that the records are eligible. As this process is highly technical and requires a court hearing, consulting an expungement attorney in Mecklenburg County may be necessary.
Obtaining an expungement of eligible arrest and court records can improve your future job prospects and make your future brighter overall. By eliminating public access to these documents through the process, individuals may be able to better their lives without the unfair judgments of prospective employers. A Mecklenburg County expungement lawyer may be your best means of successfully filing a petition.
In the absence of an expungement, arrest and court records of prior charges will remain on your permanent criminal history, even if the court later dismissed the charges or a judge or jury found you not guilty. Proactively removing these records from public view can be highly beneficial to your future. Call us to learn more.
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