Most Virginians, especially law abiding Virginians, do not know that once you are arrested on allegations of committing a misdemeanor or felony crime, notations of your arrest remain on your criminal record, permanently, even if you were not convicted on the allegations. If you are individual that has been arrested for a class I misdemeanor crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia; and, your case was dismissed by a court or dropped by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. You may want to consider the legal procedure known as Expungement.
Expungement is the name for the action pursued by a criminal defendant, when he wishes to erase the fact that he was arrested from his permanent criminal record. Mind you, we are not discussing a pardon, which must be issued by the executive branch of our state government and is the means to deal with actual convictions. The law wants to be fair to those who have been wrongfully accused and permits this procedure to protect the innocent. You might imagine, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with our citizens’ proximity to Washington DC and the abundance of federal government work, maintaining criminal record can be very, very important.
This process involves petitioning the Circuit Court of the jurisdiction, where the defendant was convicted, asking for the court to review your case and your criminal record. Of note, the statute permits consideration of expungement for cases involving an allegation of assault and battery with an “accord and satisfaction” disposition (or end result), while defendants received the benefit of a “first offender” disposition will not be considered. If upon its thorough review, the court finds it to be appropriate, in its sole discretion, to grant your petition for expungement, the court may enter an order, which will set into motion the process to clear your criminal record of your arrest.
Frankly, cases will clearly be of the type, where an expungement may be possible or not. Even in cases, where there is a good chance of a petition for expungement being granted, it is best to have the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s blessing in advance, to grease the wheels. A good local attorney will have the knowledge of the process and of the people to best aid an individual considering filing for an order of expungement. An investment with an attorney, both in time and money, will save you time and money, and ensure that the job is done properly; so, your end goal is best accomplished, a clean criminal record.