Hopewell Expungement Lawyer

No matter why you may have been arrested, the fact remains that you probably do not want future employers or curious acquaintances looking up your name and finding out about past legal issues. Unfortunately, an arrest record may affect your ability to get a higher education, receive credit, be eligible for a lease, or obtain employment. However, an expungement would allow you to legally deny that any such record exists.

While the record would still technically exist after a successful clearing, the public would generally have no access to it. If you were arrested and are now dealing with a criminal record, consider enlisting the services of a Hopewell expungement lawyer.

If you were successful in clearing your record, other agencies would have no reason to deny you permits or licenses based on the arrest, nor could potential employers cannot use that information to refuse to hire you. Speak with a defense criminal attorney to learn how you can protect your future.

Eligibility for Clearing a Record

Naturally, the government will not erase all criminal matters from the public record, as noted in Code of Virginia §19.2-392.2. The following situations are eligible for expungement:

  • The court acquitted the arrested person
  • A court dismissed the charges against the individual
  • Prosecutors declared the case nolle prosequi
  • The court discovered the crime was committed by someone else
  • A governor or court issued a full pardon

Typically, a person could request that the court clear their record if that person never pled guilty to the alleged act, for example. The exception to this rule is if the state issued a pardon. It is difficult and unusual for the state of Virginia to grant a pardon. Generally, the only type of pardon that allows a person able to have their record cleared is an absolute pardon.

Filing a Petition for Expungement

There are many requirements which usually must be met before a court would consider clearing a person’s record. First, the defendant must file a petition in the county of the court hearing the original issue. The petition must include:

  • The date of arrest
  • Name of the arresting agency
  • Criminal charges at issue
  • Date of final deposition
  • Petitioner’s date of birth
  • Petitioner’s full name when the matter occurred

The petitioner must then send a copy of the petition to the attorney for the Commonwealth. The prosecutor may object to the petition within 21 days of receiving the petition. Because of the intricacies of this process, a Hopewell expungement lawyer could help to gather the documents essential for filing a petition.

How a Hearing Proceeds

To determine eligibility, the court would often consider whether a charge has led to a disproportionate loss for a defendant, such as keeping them from obtaining a job or housing. Essentially, the court would order an expungement if the arrest record is an injustice to the petitioner.

A clear example of this would be if the petitioner had no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor; this is generally grounds for the court to grant the petition. However, the court may deny a petition if they cannot discern any injustices suffered by the defendant. A tenacious expungement attorney in Hopewell could help to assess the circumstances of a person’s claim and determine their eligibility.

Expungement for Mistaken Identity

If the court dismisses the charges against a defendant because it was discovered that the act was done by another person, the falsely arrested or charged person may make a motion to have the court issue an order to expunge their record.

What Happens After a Record is Cleared?

Once the court has issued an order of expungement, the clerk of court will forward the order to the Department of State Police. That department will then make sure the records affected by the order are expunged. After this, both an arrest and any subsequent charge may legally be denied by an individual. For more information about clearing a record, reach out to a seasoned lawyer.

Get Help from a Hopewell Expungement Attorney

If you are seeking to have your record cleared, you may wish to speak with a defense attorney to learn more about the process. It could be difficult to meet all the requirements if you are underprepared, and you do not want the court to deny your expungement because of a mistake.

Instead of navigating the legal system alone, sit down with a Hopewell expungement lawyer who has experience dealing with these matters. Experienced legal counsel could advise you of your chances of success and what results you can expect during the process.