Though a misdemeanor is a minor offense, people that have a misdemeanor on their record often have trouble getting jobs, passing security clearances or even being accepted into schools. In Virginia, a misdemeanor can be expunged, or removed from you record, but you will have to provide proper paperwork and documentation. This can be difficult depending on the circumstances of the misdemeanor.
Determine the Status of Your Misdemeanor
In order to be eligible for your record to be expunged, you must have either been found not guilty by a judge or jury or had your case dismissed. This can include a dismissal without prejudice or dismissal by satisfaction, meaning that you fulfilled the terms of your misdemeanor.
Fill Out Petition Paperwork
In order to be granted an expunged record, you must provide all the details of your misdemeanor and ask for your police records as well as any court records to be expunged. You must include a statement on the petition as to why the record is a hindrance to you and why you want it removed. File the petition in circuit court.
Serve a Copy of the Petition to the Attorney of the Commonwealth
Virginia is considered to be your opposition, so the commonwealth must be served – or presented with the petition – before you can attend a hearing. They can file a response or opposition to the petition if they do so within a timely manner. This will be considered at the hearing.
Request a Copy of Your Fingerprints
You can get a copy of your fingerprints from a law enforcement agency. The fingerprints as well as a complete criminal history will be included with the petition so that the judge can make the best decision about whether to grant you expungement.
Attend the Court Hearing
You will have to go before a judge before he will grant you the expungement. It is up to his discretion whether to grant your expungement. The judge will listen to your statement as well as the statement of the attorney of commonwealth and look over all the submitted documents. A decision will be made whether to expunge your misdemeanor record. If it is found that you have no further criminal record except the misdemeanor you are trying to expunge, then you will be granted an expungement.