ATTORNEY HELPING CLIENTS SEAL AND EXPUNGE CRIMINAL RECORDS
An old criminal charge or arrest record can be a genuine obstacle to reaching your goals, whether those goals are personal or professional. For example, if you’re being routinely turned away by prospective employers, an old criminal charge or an old arrest record may be the reason why.
Whenever someone is arrested in Virginia, a record of that arrest is created, and the information is made available to the public. Everyone can see the record unless it is sealed or expunged.
Criminal records have always been available to the public, but with the proliferation of online services in the last three decades, it’s easier than ever to check someone’s background. The internet lets potential employers, for example, see someone’s criminal history almost instantly.
WHICH RECORDS CAN BE EXPUNGED?
Unfortunately for many people in the Fairfax area, the state of Virginia does not expunge or seal criminal conviction records, with one narrow exception: A conviction can be expunged when someone receives an absolute pardon for a crime that he or she did not commit.
However, if you were placed under arrest but never subsequently charged with a crime, or if you were charged with a crime but you were not convicted, the record of that arrest or criminal charge is not automatically expunged in Virginia, but the record may qualify for expungement.
Employer background checks are routine and universal these days, so if you have an old criminal charge or an old arrest record, expunging that record can be a smart step to take. However, it’s also a choice that is made quite difficult by Virginia’s laws and regulations.
WHICH RECORDS CAN BE SEEN BY THE PUBLIC?
Not every arrest or criminal charge can be expunged. Only certain arrest records and charges – those that did not result in convictions – may be hidden from the general public. If an arrest or a criminal charge led to a conviction, the arrest record and the charge cannot be expunged.
Charges and arrests may be expunged only if no charge was filed, if a charge was filed but then dismissed, or if a jury returned a not guilty verdict at trial.
Even for a misdemeanor charge like reckless driving, you cannot expunge an arrest record if you were convicted on the charge that you were arrested for. Not even the best defense lawyer in Virginia will be able to help you.
YOU’LL NEED SOME HELP GETTING A RECORD EXPUNGED
But if you need to have an arrest record or a criminal charge expunged, and the arrest or charge did not lead to a conviction, help is available. You’ll need to contact a Fairfax expungement attorney who will explain the process and take the appropriate legal steps on your behalf.
If the record of your arrest or criminal charge is expunged, it will not be seen by the public, and that includes landlords, banks, creditors, and potential employers.
Specifically, the record of an arrest or a criminal charge may be expunged in this state if and only if the record meets one of these four conditions:
- You were prosecuted for a crime, but a not guilty verdict was returned by the jury.
- You were charged with a crime, but the charge against you was dismissed.
- Your name was used without your authorization to perpetrate a crime.
- You received an absolute pardon after a conviction for a crime that you did not commit.
WHY IS EXPUNGEMENT IMPORTANT?
Most of us want to make every effort to erase any trace of a criminal history. An expungement is an official confirmation that an arrest was wrongfully made or that a criminal charge was wrongfully filed against you.
Cleaning up legal records is a complicated and confusing process. In some cases, it can be difficult to determine if your record qualifies for expungement. You’ll need help from a lawyer who can explain why your own record qualifies – or does not qualify – for expungement.
WHAT ABOUT DNA RECORDS IN VIRGINIA?
Additionally, if you received a felony conviction in Virginia that was subsequently reversed, and if the case against you was then dismissed, the right expungement attorney can help you file a request to have your DNA record purged from Virginia’s DNA database.
TO LEARN MORE – OR TO BEGIN THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS
For twenty years, Fairfax expungement attorney Scott C. Nolan has helped people in Northern Virginia get their old criminal charges and arrest records expunged. He has defended thousands of clients against criminal accusations, so he knows how important it is to have a clean record.
To learn more about expunging criminal records in Virginia, or to schedule a legal consultation, call his law offices or reach out to attorney Scott C. Nolan online. If you are being routinely turned away by prospective employers, Scott C. Nolan is the attorney who may be able to help.