When Can You Get an Expungement in Virginia

I often receive phone calls from individuals wanting to obtain an Expungement. First and foremost, the laws in other states differ from Virginia, and this blog only deals with Virginia's laws on Expungements. If you have previously been charged with a crime that was dismissed or Nolle Prossed (not prosecuted) you may be able to have the charge expunged from your criminal record. I say "may" because some charges where there was a "Deferred Disposition," they cannot be expunged (for example First Offender charges). Alternatively, if a person actually received a conviction, the conviction cannot be expunged. It stays on their criminal record. This applies equally to misdemeanors andfelonies (for felonies, a Restoration of Rights might be sought). In circumstances where a person is found "not guilty;" the charge is dismissed by the Commonwealth; or not prosecuted; a expungement can be sought and is often obtained (unless the Commonwealth objects or there is some reason the Court believes that the charge should remain on the person's criminal record). If there is an objection by the Commonwealth to the Expungement, the individual must show the Court, that they have suffered some unique harm from the charge being on their record (i.e., they cannot pass a security clearance, they can't obtain employment, et cetera). It is then left to the Court to decide if an Expungement should be granted.