The state of Virginia does not allow the expungement or sealing of criminal conviction records unless you were granted an absolute pardon for a crime you did not commit. If, however, you were arrested but not charged with a crime, or if you were charged but not convicted, the related criminal record may qualify for expungement under the circumstances described below.
If your record is expunged, it will no longer be visible to the general public, including potential employers. (Virginia Statutes § 19.2-392.4 (2018).) In most cases, you may say that you were never arrested or convicted of a crime.
Your criminal record may be expunged if:
(Virginia Statutes § 19.2-392.2 (2018).)
Your conviction record may be expunged only if you were convicted of a crime you did not commit and were later granted an absolute pardon. (Virginia Statutes § 19.2-392.2 (2018).)
There is a limited exception to this rule for DNA evidence. If you were convicted of a felony and your conviction was later reversed and the case dismissed, you may request that your DNA record be purged from the state DNA database. (Virginia Statutes § 19.2-310.7 (2018).)
If you are eligible to have your record expunged, you may file a petition for expungement. You must file the petition in the circuit court of the county or city in which your case was handled. (Virginia Statutes § 19.2-392.2 (2018).)
You can find the petition forms on the website of the Virginia Judicial System.
Cleaning up a criminal history can be complicated. If you are not sure whether your record qualifies for expungement in Virginia -- or for advice about your personal situation -- you should contact a qualified criminal law attorney. A good lawyer can guide you each step of the way.