In Virginia, there is an automatic expungement option. First introduced during the 2020 Special Session of the Virginia State Crime Commission, it allows defendants to have relief from their criminal conviction without having to file for it.
Learn more about automatic expungement and who qualifies here.
Why automatic expungements are important
One reason it is important for the state to offer automatic expungements is because of how severely a conviction can impact a person’s life. This is true even if the individual has completed their jail time and paid the assessed fines.
Some of the ways a criminal conviction can impact someone’s life in the long term include the following:
- Employment opportunities
- Housing options
- Higher education and access to financial aid
- Immigration status
- Credit score
For these reasons (among others), having the option of an automatic expungement can be extremely beneficial. It can allow them to move on with their lives once their sentence is served.
What benefits does expungement offer?
Expungement allows you to move on with your life without having a criminal conviction “hanging over you.” Usually, it makes finding work easier and makes integration into society easier. Essentially, it helps you live a productive life even after a mistake.
The legislation that allowed for automatic expungements was passed in the early part of 2021. If you are convicted of a crime, it may be possible to take advantage of it. Even if you don’t qualify for automatic relief, you may be eligible to take advantage of other opportunities for expungement.
If you do not know if you will qualify for expungement or if there is some complication, you need to learn more about your legal rights in the state. You may have more options than you realize.