Expungement is a legal process in which you can file a petition with the court to remove a criminal charge from your permanent record. While obtaining an expungement in some states is quite simple, that is not the case in Northern Virginia. Unfortunately, the procedure here can be rather tricky and time-consuming.
During this process, the courts will require you to file a petition with documentation supporting the need for your expungement. As a result, you may need the assistance and guidance of a NoVa expungement lawyer to navigate through this confusing process. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney could help you determine whether you qualify to this legal process and advocate on your behalf in court to help you achieve a positive outcome.
Any person who faces criminal charges will always carry that information on their permanent criminal record. As a result, anytime someone with a criminal record applies for housing, credit lines, loans or grants for higher education, or a job, the person reviewing their application can find a complete arrest history of the applicant. It does not matter whether the court drops the charges or finds this person innocent.
Expungement offers individuals the opportunity to get a fresh start without the arrest on their permanent record. The petitioner should keep in mind that an expungement will seal a person’s criminal record in this state, but it does not remove the information altogether.
Even after expungement, a court can permit specified parties to view a person’s sealed records upon request. Those parties include law enforcement, probation officers, and other government officials. In cases of felony arrest records, for a court to grant expungement, the petitioner must provide proof to the judge that the arrest report on their record will cause a manifest injustice, such as economic hardship. A NoVa attorney could help someone petition for expungement, so the stigma of a criminal record does not follow them around for the rest of their lives.
A person may be eligible to apply for an expungement of their criminal record shows an order of nolle prosequi (meaning the court dropped the criminal case), court dismissals, or findings of not guilty. It is important to note that court dismissals also include situations involving discharge of assault and similar charges under Virginia Code § 19.2-151. Only crimes listed under Virginia Code § 18.2-9 may be eligible for expungement. These offenses include:
However, only misdemeanor offenses can be dismissed pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-151. An attorney in NoVa could determine if someone is eligible to go through the expungement process and have their arrest record sealed.
If you need help with filing a petition to have your arrest record sealed, a skillful NoVa expungement lawyer is here to assist you through this process. One of our experienced attorneys could also explain your options and determine what steps you should take to put any criminal arrests behind you. For more information on how our legal team could help you, call today.
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