I was charged with a criminal offense in Virginia and found out that it’s on my criminal record. Can I get it “Expunged”, or removed, from my criminal record?
When you are charged with a crime, that information is placed into police records, Court records and on your criminal record. Some basic information in Court records is even shown on the internet. Later, when you are either convicted of the charge or the charge is dismissed, that information is then added to such records. If the charge is dismissed it does NOT “fall off” of or “disappear” from your criminal record. Despite the fact the charge was dismissed and you may have even heard the judge or your lawyer say the charge is not on your record anymore, the information is still out there!
In today’s economy it’s hard enough to find a place to live, a good job, or even credit without being hindered by a criminal record. Many landlords don’t want to rent a home or an apartment to someone with a criminal record. Many employers have a rule that someone who has a criminal record cannot work for them. If a landlord or employer does a “background check” or a “criminal record check” they will find out you have a criminal record and you won’t get the home or job you want, or even worse, you may lose the job you already have!
If the charge was dismissed you MAY be able to get the charge “Expunged” from your record and it takes an Order from a Virginia Circuit Court in order to do that.
Virginia Code §19.2-392.2 allows a Circuit Court in the county or city where you were originally charged to Order certain criminal charges be expunged. When you have a criminal charge expunged it means that it is removed, or erased, from your criminal record as well as any police records and Court records relating to that charge. You qualify to have a criminal charge expunged under the following circumstances: (1) If you were acquitted, or found not guilty of the charge.; (2) The Commonwealth took a nolle prosequi of, or voluntarily dropped, the charge.; OR (3) The charge was “otherwise” dismissed, including dismissal by “accord and satisfaction” under §19.2-151, where an individual has dropped a criminal charge against you for one reason or another. Unfortunately, you do NOT qualify to have a criminal charge expunged under the following circumstances: (1) You were found guilty of the charge whether a misdemeanor or a felony, even if the misdemeanor was simple as littering or drunk in public.; (2) The charge was dismissed as the result of you successfully completing “First Offender Status” under §18.2-251 (a drug possession charge) or >§18.2-57.3 (a domestic assault and battery charge).; OR (3) A judge found the evidence sufficient to find you guilty of a criminal charge, but later dismissed the charge after a period of time.
However, if you were convicted of a FELONY in Virginia we may be able to have your CIVIL RIGHTS RESTORED by the Governor of Virginia so you may enjoy many of the same rights as any other citizen. You will also be able to show the community that you are now a law abiding citizen and that fact has been recognized by the Governor!
The civil rights which the Governor of Virginia may restore through this process are as follows: (1) Right to vote; (2) Right to Hold Public Office; (3) Right to Serve on a Jury; AND (4) The Right to serve as a notary public. Please note that having your civil rights restored is NOT a pardon or an expungement of a conviction.
You qualify to have the Governor of Virginia to consider restoration of your civil rights under the following circumstances: (1) Be a resident of Virginia; (2) Been convicted of a NON-Violent Felony in a Virginia Court, a U.S. District Court or a military court.; (3) Paid all costs, fines, and restitution associated with the conviction.; (4) Complete at least a two (2) year waiting period after completion of the sentence and/or release from supervised probation or parole.; (5) Not have any misdemeanor convictions or pending criminal charges for two (2) years immediately preceding the application.; AND (6) Not have a conviction for DWI within the past five (5) years immediately preceding the application.
If you were convicted of a “Violent” Felony, then you must be free from supervised probation and not have any convictions or charges pending for a period of five (5) years immediately preceding the application.
If you were convicted of a FELONY, we may also be able to have your RIGHT TO CARRY A FIREARM RESTORED so you can hunt or engage in other lawful activity with a firearm.
Virginia Code §18.2-308.2 allows a Circuit Court in the county or city where you currently reside to grant you a permit to possess or carry a firearm or stun weapon. This can only be accomplished after your other civil rights have been restored by the Governor of Virginia as indicated above.
The above is just a summary of what we can do for you in fighting to help when you have been charged with a crime and been convicted or had the charge dismissed. Attorney Robert G. Saunders has been filing the necessary Petitions and getting the Courts to enter these Orders for years. Please give us a call and we will do everything we can to help you put things right!