What to Know Before Expunging a Record in Alexandria

Record expungement cases are typically pursued by individuals with career concerns such as future or current employers being aware of their criminal history. Many do not want to have to answer uncomfortable questions about the crime with which they were charged.

It could be important to speak with a lawyer about what to know before expunging a record in Alexandria. As a savvy expungement attorney knows, people do not have to wait a specific period of time before filing a claim in Alexandria. If they have a charge that is dismissed or they are found not guilty, they could file the petition the next day.

Understanding Expungement Eligibility

Part of what to know before expunging a record in Alexandria is that expunction not available for everybody, even if they were charged with a crime and not convicted. A person is not automatically eligible for it. There are a lot of cases where a person could be charged with a crime and the Commonwealth does not seek a guilty finding where they are not eligible.

An example would be if the court makes a finding that the facts are sufficient for finding guilt and continues the case for a period of time laying out certain conditions for the defendant to complete during that period of time that the case is continued. If the defendant completes all required tasks and stays out of trouble, the charge gets dismissed.

Under those circumstances, they are not eligible for expungement. They are only eligible for expungement if they are found not guilty or if the Commonwealth elects not to prosecute without any conditions and without the court making a finding that the facts are sufficient for a finding of guilt.

What Criminal Charges Qualify for Expungement?

Charges that could be expunged range from a misdemeanor to murder. If a person is not found guilty, they could have those charges expunged from their record. There is a difference in the law and what is required to be shown by the petitioner, depending on the level of the charge.

If a person is charged with a misdemeanor, they have no prior criminal history, and they are found not guilty and the Commonwealth elects not prosecute, under Virginia law the court must presume that the petitioner is entitled to the expungement.

However, if the underlying charge was a felony or if the person has other criminal convictions on their record, the petitioner must make a showing in court that the continued existence of the arrest records could or would impact their life in some negative way.

Types of Evidence Presented in Expungement Applications

The sorts of evidence presented in an expungement case include the record of the proceeding in the court that lead to the petition. They are going to need to show that they were found not guilty or they were not subjected to prosecution once the case came to court. They are going to need to show that the case was not dismissed after a period of time if the court made a finding that facts are sufficient for a finding of guilt.

Another piece of evidence might be necessary, depending on the nature of the underlying charge. If the underlying charge was for a felony or if the person has other entries in their criminal history, they must also make a showing in court to confirm the existence of the arrest records would impact their life in some negative way.

Financial Impact Associated With Record Expungement

The type of application is an important part of what to know before expunging a record in Alexandria. This means, something people need to know is that this is a civil lawsuit being filed against the government. There are costs associated with it which include filing fees and service fees that need to be paid for the case to begin. Once filed, there is still more work to be done. They need to get fingerprinted at their local police station. Those fingerprints are submitted to the court and to the Virginia State police so that they run a full record check.

The cost associated with having a record expunged includes lawyer fees as well as filing fees that the person needs to pay. This is a civil complaint being filed against the government. In a civil claim when a person files a new petition, the Circuit Court always has filing fees and service fees, because that petition needs to be served by the sheriff of the jurisdiction in which they are filing to the Commonwealth attorney and to the police agency that charged them.