Thank you for your question. After reading my answer, please do not hesitate to reply if you have additional questions or need more information.
Yes, if this was a first offense. According to Virginia law, the following persons can petition the court to have their record expunged:
A person charged and then acquitted, who had charges nolled, or granted an absolute pardon, may petition for expungement. A first-offender arrested for a misdemeanor may have records expunged. Also, any person whose name or other identification has been used without his consent or authorization by another person who has been charged or arrested using such name or identification. § 19.2-392.2.
You can get the petition for expugement here from the Virginia court website (scroll down, it's about in the middle of the page) and it includes the instructions. You are not required to have an attorney for this.
JUST ANSWER IS A "PAY FOR SERVICE". As I do this for a living, not a hobby, please honor and respect the honor code, and compensate me for my time as you would any other professional.
DISCLAIMER: This response is limited by the information that you have provided to this lawyer. Based on the information you have provided, I have responded based on my knowledge and interpretation of existing laws. It is possible that if the same question was asked to another lawyer, the response could be different. This response is for "Legal Informational" purposes only and should not be confused with "Legal Advice" and nothing in this response should be construed as legal advice for any individual case. Under no circumstances does this response directly or indirectly, establish or intend to establish an Attorney-Client relationship. This response is not and shall not be construed as a solicitation for the legal services of any attorney. If you have already retained a lawyer in connection with this inquiry and this fact is unknown to this lawyer, this response should not be construed as impending and/or interfering with your attorney-client relationship with such attorney. This attorney is not responsible for any loss, injury, claim, liability, or damage related to your use of this response, whether from errors or omissions in the content of the response or any other sites that I may provide to you for reference.
It's in the discretion of the court whether to grant the expunegment or not. But in the absence of good cause, the court should grant the expungement. That is, if this was the only charge, and it was 20+ years ago, there's no reason a court should not grant it.
However, looking at that link to the petition I sent you, that can only be used for people who had charges dismissed or who were falsely charged because of their identification being used.
Virginia does not appear to have a free form online for first offenders arrested for misdemeanors, and I can't seem to find one online elsewhere despite searching. Thus, you'll probably need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney to file for you. The price a lawyer charges for an expungement can vary, but you can likely expect to pay in the area between $750-$1500.
We actually are not permitted to take customers from this site.
However, I do recommend you call the Virginia State Bar Association at 1800-552-7977, which is the number for the lawyer referral service, and they can put you in touch with a local attorney in your area who can assist you.
Did he state why it could not be expunged? Here is the statute (in part):
§ 19.2-392.2. Expungement of police and court records.
A. If a person is charged with the commission of a crime or any offense defined in Title 18.2, and
1. Is acquitted, or
2. A nolle prosequi is taken or the charge is otherwise dismissed, including dismissal by accord and satisfaction pursuant to § 19.2-151, he may file a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting expungement of the police records and the court records relating to the charge.
B. If any person whose name or other identification has been used without his consent or authorization by another person who has been charged or arrested using such name or identification, he may file a petition with the court disposing of the charge for relief pursuant to this section. Such person shall not be required to pay any fees for the filing of a petition under this subsection. A petition filed under this subsection shall include one complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints obtained from a law-enforcement agency.
C. The petition with a copy of the warrant or indictment if reasonably available shall be filed in the circuit court of the county or city in which the case was disposed of by acquittal or being otherwise dismissed and shall contain, except where not reasonably available, the date of arrest and the name of the arresting agency. Where this information is not reasonably available, the petition shall state the reason for such unavailability. The petition shall further state the specific criminal charge to be expunged, the date of final disposition of the charge as set forth in the petition, the petitioner's date of birth, and the full name used by the petitioner at the time of arrest.
D. A copy of the petition shall be served on the attorney for the Commonwealth of the city or county in which the petition is filed. The attorney for the Commonwealth may file an objection or answer to the petition within 21 days after it is served on him.
E. The petitioner shall obtain from a law-enforcement agency one complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints and shall provide that agency with a copy of the petition for expungement. The law-enforcement agency shall submit the set of fingerprints to the Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) with a copy of the petition for expungement attached. The CCRE shall forward under seal to the court a copy of the petitioner's criminal history, a copy of the source documents that resulted in the CCRE entry that the petitioner wishes to expunge, and the set of fingerprints. Upon completion of the hearing, the court shall return the fingerprint card to the petitioner.
F. After receiving the criminal history record information from the CCRE, the court shall conduct a hearing on the petition. If the court finds that the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the arrest of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances which constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner, it shall enter an order requiring the expungement of the police and court records, including electronic records, relating to the charge. Otherwise, it shall deny the petition. However, if the petitioner has no prior criminal record and the arrest was for a misdemeanor violation, the petitioner shall be entitled, in the absence of good cause shown to the contrary by the Commonwealth, to expungement of the police and court records relating to the charge, and the court shall enter an order of expungement.
Upon initial reading of the statute it would appear that unless the charges were dismissed, a person is acquitted or the conviction was based on stolen identification that the charges cannot be dropped -however, paragraph F makes is clear that a misdemeanor arrest can be expunged in the absence of good cause. I also know that yesterday, when I submitted my answer, I actually looked at a website of a Virginia lawyer (not even sure I could find it again) that stated a misdemeanor can be expunged.
There is nothing in the statute I can see that says just because a criminal conviction is older it cannot be expunged, if that is what the lawyer is telling you.
I disagree based on what information I have read, in that a mismeandor conviction may be more difficult, but not impossible to expunge in Virginia.
But I see no need to argue the point. I'll have customer service refund you.
I responded to your other thread. In any event, I am asking customer service to refund you, as I explained above.
No need to reply to this information request.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).