Expungement: Available in Your Case?
What exactly does "Expungement" mean for you? According to Legal Services of Northern Virginia, "Expungement is the term for a civil proceeding brought by someone who was arrested and charged with commission of a crime, but who was not convicted, to seal the police and court records of the arrest and criminal charge." As you can probably guess, it has much to do with protecting your reputation.
So how do you know if the crime you have been charged with is eligible to be expunged? In Virginia, a charged individual may be eligible if he enters a plea of not guilty and is subsequently acquitted by a judge or jury. Expungement is not limited to the criminal courts – it may become relevant if a party to a civil proceeding is charged with contempt, but later is found not guilty. Moreover, if the prosecution chooses not to prosecute the charge (referred to as nolle prosequi), expungement may be an option. Another situation that may give rise to the possibility of an expungement occurs when a person is charged with a misdemeanor, and the alleged victim achieves a judgment in civil court, that he or she in turn informs the court as satisfactory to redress the injury. If the court agrees, the court may expunge. The various circumstances that may allow you to pursue expungement are many . . . it is best to seek the professional judgment of your local Virginia Beach or Norfolk Criminal Defense Attorney.
It is important to understand that conceptually, expungement is a way for an innocent person to obtain a relief. The laws relating to expungement generally are not applicable to persons found guilty. There is a limited exception, but the details of your case are highly relevant. Therefore, speak to a qualified and licensed professional to analyze your case.