Expungements after guilty verdicts in Virginia. What options do you have?

A question we frequently hear is whether a conviction can be expunged that is “years old” or that was “simply a misdemeanor”. Generally, the answer is no—no matter how old or how minimal the offense was.  Click here for an article from 2014 with some general information as well as our February 2019 update here.

But there is one exception to this: under recently issued law, a person who is arrested on one offense but who is convicted for a different (usually less serious one) can have the records of the arrest expunged—if the conviction is for an offense that is not a lesser included offense of the charge you were arrested on.

Here’s an example: if you are charged with grand larceny for stealing something worth more than $500, and the prosecution agrees to reduce the charge to petit larceny, the records showing you were arrested for grand larceny would not be eligible for an expungement. Petit larceny is a lesser included offense of grand larceny.

But if, instead, the prosecution agrees to change the charge to trespassing, those records could be eligible for an expungement.

Even if you plead guilty in the second example, there are still important reasons you might want to seek expungement. With the new statewide online case information search page the Supreme Court has recently unveiled (https://eapps.courts.state.va.us/ocis/index.html), anyone can search for your name and potentially see that you were charged with theft. But if instead they only saw you were convicted of trespass, the consequences could be much less severe. While the conviction itself can’t be expunged, the arrest for a much more serious offense is something you can remedy.

Records of arrest can affect your ability to find work, obtain credit, and maintain your reputation in the community.

If you or someone you know has an arrest record that might be eligible for expungement, please contact our office at info@wmmlegal.com or call our offices at (804) 423.1382 and we would be happy to help.