How to Expunge Your Criminal Charge in Virginia

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to Virginia, 18 helpful votes




Determine the Status of Your Charge.

In order to be eligible for an expungement, you must have been acquitted (found not guilty by a judge or jury), or the prosecutor must have moved for a nolle prosequi (dismissal without prejudice), or the charge must have been "otherwise dismissed," which includes dismissal by accord and satisfaction.


File a Petition for Expungement.

A petition must be filed setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge. The petition should state why the continued existence of the charge on your record is prejudicial to you. The petition must be filed in the circuit court of the county or city where the case was disposed of. You must include the date of arrest and the name of the arresting agency. The petition should also include the specific criminal charge to be expunged, the date of the final disposition of the charge as set forth in the petition, your date of birth, and the full name used by you at the time of arrest.


Attach a Copy of the Warrant or Indictment to the Petition.

This can easily be obtained from the clerk of the General District Court or Circuit.


Serve a Copy of the Petition on the Attorney for the Commonwealth of the City or County Where the Criminal Charge Was Brought.

The attorney for the Commonwealth is technically a party so they must be served or the court will not go forward with your petition. Also, the attorney for the Commonwealth may file an objection or answer to the petition within 21 days after it is served on him.


Obtain from a Law-Enforcement Agency One Complete Set of Your Fingerprints and Provide that Agency with a Copy of the Petition.

The law-enforcement agency shall submit the set of fingerprints to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) with a copy of the petition for expungement attached. The CCRE shall forward under seal to the court a copy of your criminal history, a copy of the source documents that resulted in the CCRE entry that you wish to expunge, and the set of fingerprints. Upon completion of the hearing, the court shall return the fingerprint card to you.


Go to the Hearing.

After receiving the criminal history record information from the CCRE, the court shall conduct a hearing on the petition. If the court finds that the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to your arrest causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to you, it shall enter an order requiring the expungement of the police and court records, including electronic records, relating to the charge. Otherwise, it shall deny the petition. However, if you have no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor violation, you shall be entitled, in the absence of good cause shown to the contrary by the Commonwealth, to expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge, and the court shall enter an order of expungement. Upon the entry of an order of expungement, the clerk of the court shall cause a copy of such order to be forwarded to the Department of State Police, which shall direct the manner by which the

Additional Resources

Manikas Law Offices - 703-556-0004 (please visit our website first)

Manikas Law Offices

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