Clearing Your Criminal Past Through Expungement
If you were ever arrested and charged with a crime, that incident may still be on your record — even if you were not convicted. Those old records can resurface in background checks, closing doors to employment and causing other problems.
Expungement seals old arrest records and court records from public view. Under recent changes to Virginia’s expungement law, certain low-level convictions can also be expunged. However, expungement is complicated and is not automatically granted. You can turn to Corder Law, PLLC, for experienced legal help. We take cases throughout the Shenandoah Valley.
Expungement Of Cases That Did Not End In Conviction
Record expungement is a formal legal process to have the court seal old records. Once expunged, the records are still visible to the courts and law enforcement, but those records will not show up in background checks or public searches.
Most criminal offenses are eligible to be expunged if:
- The charges were dismissed
- The arrest or charges stemmed from identity fraud or mistaken identity
- Your arrest did not lead to a conviction
- You were found not guilty at trial
- You received a pardon for the offense in question
Even if the charges were dropped or the judge or jury set you free, those records do not simply disappear. You must go the extra step to petition the court for expungement.
Under New Rules, Some Convictions Can Be Expunged
As of July 2021, many categories of lesser crimes are eligible for expungement:
- Many juvenile crimes
- Misdemeanors such as underage possession of alcohol
- Low-level drug convictions
- Class 5 and class 6 felony convictions
- Dismissals under a first-time offender deferral program
In general, you cannot expunge convictions or arrest records for DWI/DUI, domestic assault and Level 1-4 felonies.
I have also helped people convicted of felonies petition for restoration of civil rights, including the right to vote and the right to legally possess firearms.
Why You Need An Attorney
There are specific criteria to petition for expungement and specific things that may make you ineligible. The paperwork must be completed properly and filed on time. And the Commonwealth can object to your petition; you have the burden to prove that you are rehabilitated or that your records should be sealed.
I am Justin Corder, an attorney with 10 years of focused experienced in Virginia criminal law. I can help you obtain your police and court records and pursue expungement so that you can move forward with the your life and not be haunted by the past.