Virginia has historically been one of the worst states in which to obtain a criminal record. After you plead guilty or get convicted by the courts, the record that results will be accessible to anyone who checks your background. People have historically only been able to seal or expunge those records when they avoid conviction or the state dropped the charges against them.
Those who have pleaded guilty or no contest or who got convicted in court generally cannot qualify for expungement. Thankfully, those rules will change in 2025 thanks to recent laws passed by the legislature.
Expungements will become more accessible
The good news for those with a criminal record or facing criminal prosecution is that in just a few years, the opportunities for expungements in Virginia will increase. It will be significantly easier for people to qualify to seal their records and to move on from their past mistakes.
The updated expungement rules in Virginia will benefit those currently struggling with the limitations created by their criminal records. Those who do not get convicted, as well as those with convictions for select misdemeanors and felonies will be able to seal the record of their convictions and/or arrests.
The new expungement law will apply not just to governmental entities retaining criminal records but also to private businesses. Security companies and specialized publications that release mugshot stories often keep their own independent records of arrests and convictions. Under the updated Virginia expungement law, these private companies will need to seal or erase their records at the same time that the government does and will not be allowed to share that information with others.
Expungement helps you move on with your life
When you remove the record of an arrest or conviction from your background, many new opportunities may open up for you. A criminal record could prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment or gaining admission to an institution of higher education.
If you decide to pursue an expungement, you can remove the blemishes holding you back in life and open up a new world of opportunities. Making the most of the changing expungement laws in Virginia may require that you start preparing soon for the new expungement rules when they take effect in the near future.