Charles City Expungement Lawyer

The record of an arrest or criminal charge can last a lifetime. Without taking the necessary action to have it erased, the arrest and charges could remain on your record permanently and have adverse effects on your ability to get a job or apply for housing – even if the court acquitted you of the crime.

The unfortunate fact is that a court may not grant an expungement even if you are eligible. Therefore, it is crucial to retain a skilled defense attorney when dealing with these legal matters. With the help of an experienced Charles City expungement lawyer, you could make the best case possible to clear your name.

Eligibility for Expungement

Expungement is the process of a person clearing their criminal and arrest record. The eligibility for sealing a record varies significantly from one state to another. While some states give great latitude in allowing citizens to clear their criminal record, others only allow expungement under limited circumstances. The grounds for expunging a Charles City conviction can be fairly limited.

Under Code of Virginia § 19.2-392.2, a person previously arrested and charged with a crime may only obtain an expungement under certain conditions. These conditions include:

  • A defendant was acquitted of their charges
  • The prosecutor agreed to a nolle prosequi
  • The courts dismissed the charges

A person acquitted of a criminal charge generally does not have a conviction on their permanent record. However, their record may still reflect an arrest on that charge. This information is readily available under most background checks, and can profoundly impact someone’s life even though they never received a conviction. With an expungement, any record of the arrest becomes sealed.

A nolle prosequi is an action available to prosecutors that effectively allows the plaintiff to drop the charges against a defendant. When this occurs, the defendant may be eligible.

The dismissal of charges can be a little complex in terms of expungement. It is important to note that not just any dismissal in a case qualifies. Typically, sealing a record is available for defendants when the court dismissed their case without having sufficient facts to establish guilt. Therefore, defendants that agreed to a deferred judgment plea bargain that ultimately resulted in the dismissal of their case are not eligible. A Charles City lawyer could review an accused individual’s case for expungement to determine if they are eligible.

Unique Complexities to the Record Sealing Process

The court may not grant a request to everyone that qualifies. However, there are circumstances where a person could be entitled to an expungement. For anyone seeking to seal a misdemeanor from their record, they are entitled to have the court grant their request if they have no other criminal record. It is the burden of the prosecutor’s office to prove they are not eligible.

The process can be more complex for removing felony charges. The roles are reversed compared to a misdemeanor, as the burden for expunging a felony arrest sits with the petitioner. The court may only grant a request for expungement if the petitioner can establish that the denial of their request results in manifest injustice.

While state law does not define what constitutes manifest injustice, over the years, courts have ruled that the phrase relates to any harm a criminal record can have on someone’s ability to maintain employment, housing, educational opportunities. In many cases, the petitioner must show a court that they have missed out on opportunities due to their criminal record. A Charles City expungement attorney could help a petitioner build a compelling case that persuades a court to grant a request.

Speak with a Charles City Expungement Attorney

Sealing a criminal record can be a lengthy and challenging process. While there is no requirement that you seek the guidance of legal counsel, the complex issues surrounding an expungement can be too much to handle on your own.

With the help of a skilled Charles City expungement lawyer, you could clear your name and permanent record. To take the first step in obtaining an expungement, schedule your case evaluation today.