The following is a video transcript.
Hi, Ed Riley, U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney for Virginia. Can I expunge an arrest record in Virginia? An expungement is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest is erased. In Virginia, criminal convictions cannot be expunged unless there’s an absolute pardon from the Governor. On the other hand, there are instances where you may have been arrested for a criminal offense and the case is resolved in your favor or dismissed. If you were found innocent of the alleged offense or the case was dropped, or not prosecuted, or nolle prossed by the commonwealth’s attorney, which is the same as the dismissal, or was otherwise disposed of without a finding of guilt, then you may petition the circuit court for an expungement of your arrest record in that jurisdiction where the arrest occurred.
The petition is filed with a copy of the arrest warrant or indictment, a complete set of fingerprints, and shall state the specific criminal offense to be expunged. The circuit court then conducts a review or hearing and will enter in the order requiring the expungement of the police and court records, including electronic records relating to the arrest, if the court finds that continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice.
If you have no prior criminal record, and the arrest was for a misdemeanor violation, then you shall be entitled to expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge unless the commonwealth can show good cause why an expungement should not be awarded. Your firearm rights are not affected in any way whether you expunge the legal records of your arrest or not. It is a conviction for a felony or other disqualifying offense that will affect your firearm rights. Remember: in Virginia, you are not permitted to expunge any conviction.
Call U.S. LawShield to speak to you Independent Program Attorney if you have any questions about petitioning a Virginia circuit court to have an arrest record expunged.