Expungement Lawyers in Hampton Roads
Our law firm knows how the expungement process works
Many people with a criminal record in Virginia are eligible to have that record expunged. In order to have certain criminal charges or all of them sealed from public view, you will need to file an expungement petition in a Virginia circuit court.
Expungement can be a complicated legal process in Virginia. That’s why it’s critical that you have an experienced Virginia expungement attorney handling your case. That’s why you need Welch & Wright, PLLC. Our Norfolk criminal defense attorneys know how the expungement process works in Virginia. As your lawyer, we can help you navigate your way through Virginia’s legal system and give your expungement petition the opportunity for success.
What is an expungement?
Expungement is a legal process that removes some or all criminal records from public view. Contrary to what some people might think, expungement does not permanently erase someone’s criminal record. That’s because Virginia has very different expungement laws compared to other states, many of which completely destroy criminal records as part of the expungement process.
Virginia recently revised its expungement regulations. These rules can be found in Virginia Code 19.2, Chapter 23.1. Based on the current expungement guidelines, some criminal records will be eligible for automatic expungement in certain situations starting on July 1, 2025. However, in many cases, individuals must still file a petition with a circuit court in Virginia seeking expungement.
If approved, any court records of criminal arrests, charges, and convictions eligible for expungement in Virginia will be sealed by the court and not visible to the public, including companies conducting criminal background checks. Even so, law enforcement agencies can still see these records under some circumstances, and they can be unsealed by a judge.
Court records eligible for expungement in Virginia
Individuals can seek to have the following court and police records expunged in Virginia:
- Criminal charges that resulted in a “not guilty” verdict
- Arrest records that did not result in a criminal charge
- Certain juvenile convictions
- Dismissals with prejudice
- Dismissals without prejudice (nolle prosequi), in certain circumstances
- Dismissals by accord and satisfaction
- Criminal charges where the person convicted can prove that there was issue of mistaken identity and that they weren’t the actual person who committed the crime
Court records not eligible for expungement in Virginia
Police and court records in Virginia that cannot be expunged or sealed from public view include:
- DUI manslaughter
- DUI maiming
- Assault and battery against a family or household member
- CDL DUI violations involving commercial motor vehicles
How the expungement process works in Virginia
The entire legal process often takes about six to nine months. However, some expungement applications can take more or less time. It’s also important to understand where to file for expungement. You will need to file a petition for expungement with the Circuit Court of the jurisdiction where you were charged with a crime in Virginia.
In the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, for example, there are several Circuit Courts, including:
- Norfolk Circuit Court (4th Judicial Circuit of Virginia)
- Virginia Beach Circuit Court (2nd Judicial Circuit of Virginia)
Besides simply filing the petition, there may be a court hearing scheduled to argue whether or not the expungement should occur. The Commonwealth’s Attorney (or prosecutor) has the right to object to expungements, and therefore must be notified and given the opportunity to voice their objection. The judge will determine at the court hearing whether the charge should be expunged.
Expungement cases can be complicated. We can help
Virginia’s expungement process can be extremely complicated and confusing. Don’t try to handle an expungement application on your own. Contact our Norfolk law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a criminal defense lawyer who knows exactly what to do. We can answer your questions, explain how the expungement process works and get right to work helping you navigate your way through Virginia’s legal system.