Some Virginia residents are getting the opportunity to clean up their criminal records, as a bill passes in July of 2021 opened new doors for expungement. Prior to this point, dismissed charges or not guilty verdicts received eligibility for expungement.
Unfortunately, while passed in 2021, the opportunities under the law do not take place until 2025. This leaves many people wondering about their status and questioning their options for expungement.
Current dilemmas with expungement
Expungement is now available on a broader scope and now includes the following situations:
- Misdemeanor convictions
- Low-grade felony convictions
- Dismissals resulting from a first-offender program
- Grand larceny
While helpful to hundreds of thousands of Virginians, there are still several other criteria in place to meet before being eligible. There is also a limitation on the number of times a person can petition to seal their records, which currently stands at twice in the lifetime. Senate Bill 564 was a more recent effort to continue reforming criminal record sealing and expungement, but it failed to pass earlier this year.
Limitations with expungement
The following categories are not eligible for expungement:
- Involuntary vehicular manslaughter and maiming
- Felonies in Class 1, 2, 3 or 4
- Domestic assault
- Involuntary watercraft manslaughter and maiming
- Driving while under the influence or while intoxicated
By demonstrating a clean record and offering evidence of rehabilitation to the court system, you may have a chance of getting your record expunged. By using the legal process to demonstrate the loss of employment opportunities or continual damage to your reputation, a judge may grant expungement and clear your record.