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FAQs about criminal record expungement in Virginia

A few months ago, law enforcement arrested you on criminal charges. You were innocent, though, and the judge acquitted you of all charges. You believed the whole experience was over and done, but now, an employer has run a background check and the hiring manager says there's a problem: You have a criminal record.

This is an unfortunate outcome of an arrest, but in Virginia, you may file a petition to have your record expunged.

What is expungement?

That same background check will show up as clean if you receive an expungement of your record. The arrest is still on file with the police department and court system, and if you face charges for a similar offense later, law enforcement or the courts may pull it back up and review the circumstances again. However, an employer or a landlord cannot see it. Not only that, if an application asks about arrests, you can legally say that you have none on your record.

When is expungement possible?

Every state has its own laws about expungement. In Virginia, an acquittal or dismissal of your case is the only time you are eligible. Not only that, you must have a good reason to seek the expungement. Because you have an employability issue, you will probably have no problem proving that your arrest record is causing you hardship.

How do you file a petition for expungement?

You will need to file Form CC-1473 with the circuit court where your case appeared. You must also arrange to have the form served on the Commonwealth in the same district. 

In addition to the form, you may also need to file a cover sheet, and you will need to include copies of your acquittal and the warrant or indictment for your charges. This should include the following:

  • The date of your arrest and the law enforcement agency that arrested you
  • The date of the final outcome of the charge
  • Your date of birth
  • Your full name as it appears on your arrest record

The law enforcement agency that arrested you will need you to provide a full set of your fingerprints and the copy of your petition. 

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Whitestone Young, PC
10513 Judicial Drive Suite 300
Fairfax, VA 22030-7528

Phone: 703-260-7265
Phone: 703-591-0200
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