Trying to Clear Your Name of a Charge? Expungements Attorney Joseph Yoon Can Guide You Through

Have you ever wondered if it is possible to clear your record of a charge/case in the Commonwealth of Virginia? If you have, they are indeed possible in Virginia, and are known as expungements. Expungements are the erasing/clearing of any police and court records relating to a particular case. When the related records to that case are expunged, the records are actually not destroyed, but rather removed from public access and can only be accessed by court order. Therefore, you don’t have to legally discuss or give details on your expunged record for purposes of employment, requests for background checks, or other similar matters involving your record.

However, be aware that the possibility of expungement doesn’t mean clearing convictions that you have had in the past; in fact, convictions (especially those that are on the permanent criminal record) are unable to be wiped. If you had any of the following happen to you in a case, then you may be able to file a petition for an expungement:

  • acquittal
  • nolle prosequi
  • dismissal
  • absolute pardon
  • your name/identification has been used without your consent/approval by someone who has been arrested or charged
  • your name has been used in other errors

These situations (also mentioned in Va. code § 19.2-392.2) are the ones that are mainly and seriously considered for expungement by the courts.

How Your Chances Can Be Affected

The process of obtaining an expungement for your record begins with you filing a petition to do so, which inherently means there is no guarantee, but there are some factors and scenarios that can help your case and your chances for success. Your prior criminal history, and the nature of the acquittal, dismissal etc, for instance, can have an impact. If you have no prior criminal record, and the arrest in consideration for the expungement was for a misdemeanor, the Commonwealth views it as fair to go through with the expungement.

The Virginia code for expungements also mentions the phrase “manifest injustice”. This simply refers to the courts’ belief that if the record exists unfairly, and as a result is negatively affecting the petitioner’s life, then he/she should be entitled to an expungement. If the court can determine that there is indeed manifest injustice being done, then the petition will go forth; otherwise, it will be likely be denied.

Where Can You Start?

In order to request an expungement, among some of the documents and necessary materials the petitioner must submit/obtain include a petition file to the Circuit Court where that specific case was handled (with several copies going elsewhere), a copy of the charge, and fingerprint cards.

It can typically take 90 to 180 days after submission of the petition for the record to be officially removed from public access.

Requesting for an expungement on your record can be confusing, and a slightly intimidating process, especially if it is your first time. As mentioned above, certain variables existing in your case can help your chances, but you may not know until you discuss the details with an experienced expungement attorney and find out the likelihood of your petition being accepted. At the Yoon Law Firm, PLLC, of Fairfax, VA, Attorney Joseph Yoon has helped countless petitioners in their aim at expungement, and he can help you through the process as well (to clear the record that may not have to be there). If you are looking for guidance regarding this matter, give Attorney Joseph Yoon a call to find out how you can proceed with your petition.