Expungement is a process by which an arrest record can be removed so that employers or others checking your background cannot find out that you were arrested. It is important that you know what your rights are about having your record expunged.
First of all, it is important to understand why an expungement is helpful. Anytime you are arrested for a criminal offense, a record is created in a number of agencies, both locally and at the state level, and at the federal level as well for some charges. Whenever someone runs a background investigation on you, typically for employment or rental purposes, the results will be returned with your arrest information attached. This is the case even if you are found not guilty! Don't let a prospective employer assume anything negative about you due to a wrongful arrest. You should contact a criminal defense attorney to help you through the process to ensure your rights are preserved throughout your career.
Unfortunately, in Virginia you can only expunge the record of an arrest, not a conviction. This means that you cannot plead guilty to a lesser charge and then get the arrest expunged later. Talk with your criminal defense attorney about all possible repercussions including ineligibility to petition for an expungement when discussing a plea agreement. There are some states where removal of a conviction is possible, but Virginia law does not provide for this option.
Eligibility to petition for an expungement is relatively simple to determine. If the charge against you is dismissed, nolle prossed, or otherwise thrown out, you are most likely eligible to petition. If you were found guilty or pled guilty as charged or to an amended charge, you are ineligible. Contact the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Boone Beale to find out if it makes sense for you to petition for an expungement.
We will help determine if the financial investment to retain an attorney and pay the court filing fees is a smart choice in your case and will help you navigate the difficult and complicated process towards a goal of success.