Not only does a conviction lead to a long jail or prison sentence, expensive fines, and other penalties, it also results in a criminal record that could follow you for the rest of your life. Having a conviction hanging over your head can make it difficult to obtain employment, find housing, apply for college, and live a normal life.
But can a conviction be expunged in Virginia? Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”
According to state law, you can seek expungement if one of the following circumstances apply:
- You were acquitted of the charges
- Your charges were dismissed after the prosecutor chose not to pursue your case (i.e. “Nolle prosequi”)
- Your charges were dismissed for almost any other reason
- You were an identity-theft victim, and the defendant was charged using your name
You may not have a dismissed charge expunged if you stipulated your guilt prior to dismissal, or if you entered into a statutory deferred disposition for first-offense drug possession or domestic violence charges.
There are only two exceptions for obtaining an expungement for a conviction: you were convicted of a misdemeanor when you were a minor or you were convicted but were granted an absolute pardon (i.e. official recognition of your innocence.
Some juvenile offenses remain sealed and unavailable for public inspection. Records for your Virginia traffic-related offense that was not punished as a felony or misdemeanor are removed from court and DMV computers after the passage of time. When it comes to pardons, they are rarely distributed and require years of advocacy at the highest levels of the Virginia government.
If you are interested in getting your record expunged in Fredericksburg, contact Andrew J. Cornick, Attorney at Law today at (540) 818-3859 and schedule a free consultation.