Virginia has some of the strictest laws in the country for record expungement. Because of this, the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, is calling for lawmakers to change their tone. He wants them to consider expanding clean slate laws, which could help decrease the severity of specific charges, giving one-time offenders of crimes like drug possession and underage drinking a chance to start over.
However, more serious offenses like violent crimes, DUI and sexual assault would not be eligible for expungement.
Challenges the current rules can pose
In the state of Virginia, it can be difficult for certain one-time offenders to:
- Obtain a driver’s license.
- Find and keep a job, especially in the fields of law enforcement, childcare or any occupation that requires driving.
- Apply for, find and rent an apartment.
Law enforcement officials may disagree
However, some don’t approve of wholesale expungement. Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, says the hiring process for a job in law enforcement needs to remain strict. She said the police department hiring an individual must know the candidate’s entire history and if they have missing information from their record, that could raise concerns for some.
Expungement can lead to opportunity
Getting your records expunged can save you from lifelong punishment for a one-time mistake. If you are a college student and have recently been charged with underage drinking or drug possession, an experienced attorney could be the difference between a clean record and a lifetime of restrictions.