Fredericksburg Expungement Lawyer
The expungement process allows you to hide some types of criminal records from public view. Although Virginia does not permit the expungement of criminal convictions, expungement still may benefit you in some cases, especially when you are looking for a job. A Fredericksburg expungement lawyer may be able to evaluate your situation and determine if you are eligible for expungement.
Expungement rights are limited under Virginia law, but if your records qualify, you could erase them from public view. While expungement does not destroy records, it does make it impossible for prospective employers and landlords to see those records, absent a court order. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to obtain expungement orders for any eligible criminal records that you may have.
Expungement of Eligible Criminal Records
No criminal convictions qualify for expungement in the Commonwealth of Virginia, even if individuals never were incarcerated or served only a term of probation. Only three limited categories of criminal records that are eligible for expungement. These situations include:
- A finding of not guilty by a judge or jury finding a criminal trial
- Dismissal of criminal charges without prejudice or nolle prosequi by the attorney for the Commonwealth
- Dismissal of criminal charges by the court
- Fraudulent usage of the identity of individuals by another person
Individuals who receive an absolute pardon finding that they did not commit a crime also are entitled to expungement of the relevant criminal records. While limited, these expungement opportunities still may benefit some individuals. Furthermore, if the criminal records are juvenile records, there are likely to be additional expungement opportunities for those records.
For instance, suppose individuals were charged with possession of cocaine, but receive a “not guilty” verdict following a jury trial. In this situation, court records of the criminal charges and proceedings still would show up on their background checks by prospective employers. Even though the individuals were found not guilty, an employer might be less likely to hire individuals with this type of background. As an expungement lawyer in Fredericksburg may advise, seeking an expungement, in this case, could be beneficial.
Expungement Proceedings in Fredericksburg
Va. Code § 19.2-392.2 provides that individuals must file a petition for expungement with the circuit court in the same city or county that handled the original criminal case. They also must send a copy of the petition for expungement to the attorney for the Commonwealth, who has 21 days to object or answer the petition. Individuals also submit their fingerprints to the court, which forwards them to the Central Criminal Records Exchange in exchange for a copy of the pertinent criminal histories for the individuals.
The court then holds an expungement hearing and grant the request if there is no objection by the Commonwealth and the records are eligible. If the attorney for the Commonwealth objects, however, the judge first must determine whether there is reasonable cause for the expungement requested. Upon a finding of good cause, the court would grant the expungement.
A court order of expungement directs the State Police and other law enforcement agencies to remove the records from public view. The removal process may take up to 180 days to complete. An expungement attorney in Fredericksburg could help ensure that the filing process goes smoothly and establish good cause, if necessary.
Call a Fredericksburg Expungement Attorney Today
Expungement opportunities in the Commonwealth of Virginia are severely limited, but they are available in some circumstances. Individuals with otherwise clean criminal records may benefit most from expungement proceedings. A Fredericksburg expungement lawyer may be able to determine whether expungement is a potential remedy concerning your criminal charges.