Do I Have A Criminal Record When My Charges Were Dropped or “Nolle Pross’d”?
Yes. If you are an adult and were arrested or received a summons and court date for any criminal offense in Virginia, then you have a criminal arrest record that is public and can be accessed by anyone, including employers. Even if you were found “Not Guilty” or the charge was dismissed, dropped, or null pross’d (a common abbreviation for the legal term “nolle prosequi” which means to drop the charges), you still do have a criminal record showing that you were arrested and charged with the crime.
Can I Get My Criminal Record Expunged?
Expungement (sometimes called “sealing”) of your criminal record is possible in Virginia, but only if the case was dismissed or the charges were dropped (null pross’d) by the prosecutor. If you were actually found guilty or pled guilty in Virginia, then there is no expungement process available to eliminate that record. Many people are disappointed by this, because they believed they would be able to expunge a conviction or guilty finding for a DUI or similar offense that happened over 10 or even 20 years ago. But you cannot. The only time you can get an expungement in Virginia is when your charges were dropped or dismissed. Almost any criminal charge can be expunged if the charge was dropped or null pross’d. In certain cases where the charge was null pross’d, it makes sense to wait about one year before filing for the expungement, but our firm will provide specific advice based on your situation.
What Are the Benefits of Expungement?
After expungement, the public record that you were arrested and charged for a crime will no longer be available for potential employers and others to see. This can make the process of completing that employment application, rental application, or background check form much easier.
How do I get My Criminal Record Expunged?
Contact us online or call 757-352-2237 today for a fresh start. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at East Coast Trial Lawyers know expungement law, and can petition the court to expunge your arrest record quickly and efficiently. The cost of expungement is not particularly high, especially when compared to the benefit of having a clean criminal background check.