EXPUNGEMENT & RIGHTS RESTORATION

EXPUNGEMENT & RESTORATION OF RIGHTS

Your past cannot be changed. But in your future, the possibilities are endless.

The consequences of a criminal conviction go beyond jail time and probation.  Millions of Americans have a criminal record, and the number of laws and policies excluding them from a wide range of opportunities and benefits continues to grow. But as we all know, people with criminal convictions can live productive lives.  One way to move forward after the criminal process is expungement of the arrest record.  But civil rights (voting, jury service) and the right to possess or own a firearm may also be impacted..

EXPUNGEMENT

An arrest record can make it difficult for a person to obtain employment, an education, even a place to live.  Virginia law allows for the expungement of arrest records, but only if the charge did not result in a conviction or other finding of guilt.  Unlike other states, there is not yet a way to expunge a conviction in Virginia. 

Expungement of police and court records relating to a criminal charge is available in three situations: (1) if the person has been found not guilty; (2) the commonwealth took a nolle prosequi; or (3) the charge was otherwise dismissed.

Should you decide to move forward with expungement, the procedural requirements must be adhered to, or the court will reject your petition. I can guide you through the entire process and handle all filing and procedural matters for a fixed fee.

RIGHTS RESTORATION

Rights restoration can be complicated because of the interplay between federal and state law. This is particularly true with firearms.  But the first step in any rights restoration process is state restoration of civil rights. This can be done through the Secretary of the Commonwealth and is a relatively simple process.

Virginia law concerning rights restoration is rapidly changing. As time goes on, paths to restoration are becoming available to more people. Contact me to explore the possibilities available in your particular situation.

OTHER POST-JUDGEMENT MATTERS

Some errors made during the trial can be addressed before resorting to an appeal. For example, if the judge made a mistake in allowing or barring evidence, made an incorrect legal ruling, or there was not enough evidence to justify a verdict or conviction, motions can be filed addressing these issues. But time is of the essence. Most final judgments can only be changed within 21 days of the entry of a final order.

RESTORATION OF RIGHTS & EXPUNGEMENT

 Even if you were convicted of a crime, if other charges were dismissed as part of a plea bargain, you may be eligible to expunge the record of the dismissed charges. Or if you bargained for a different offense, the record of the original offense can often be expunged even if the final conviction cannot.

For example, if a charge of felony embezzlement was changed to misdemeanor trespassing as part of a plea agreement, the original embezzlement charge may be expunged. Or if you were charged with driving while intoxicated but convicted of reckless driving, the original DWI charge can be expunged.

Expungement can repair your criminal record which can be useful in employment applications, background checks, seeking financial aid, applying for credit, or entering into a residential lease.