Criminal record expungement gives someone who has had prior issues with the criminal justice system a chance for a fresh start. By limiting who can access records of that offense, the state helps someone access more opportunities in the future.
Every state has different rules about who qualifies for expungement and what records they can potentially seal. In Virginia, expungement results in the non-disclosure of certain records to the public but not in the destruction of those records. What records can you potentially expunge after an arrest or criminal proceedings in Virginia?
Virginia has limited expungement options
Unlike many other states, Virginia does not allow expungement of adult criminal records related to a conviction. No one convicted after a criminal trial or who pled guilty can expunge their criminal record.
However, one small group of individuals can potentially expunge court records after they face charges. Those who were found not guilty or acquitted in court can expunge the records from their trial. Those who never went to court for criminal charges can have the record of their arrest or temporary time in state custody sealed so that it does not show up in a public record search.
What about juvenile records?
Virginia does also offer automatic expungement for those convicted of juvenile offenses. Many records for offenses when someone is a minor are subject to automatic expungement when they turn 19. However, certain offenses and traffic violations may remain on their record until they turn 29.
Knowing the rules that govern expungement in Virginia can help you clear a blemish from your record.