Unfortunately, the person you discussed the case with is correct. Expungement of juvenile records occurs automatically on January 2 when five years have passed since the last conviction, once the person has reached age 19. So the person must be at least 19 years old and five years have passed since the last conviction. The statute is located here:
§ 16.1-306. Expungement of court records.
A. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 16.1-69.55, the clerk of the juvenile and domestic relations district court shall, on January 2 of each year or on a date designated by the court, destroy its files, papers and records, including electronic records, connected with any proceeding concerning a juvenile in such court, if such juvenile has attained the age of 19 years and five years have elapsed since the date of the last hearing in any case of the juvenile which is subject to this section. However, if the juvenile was found guilty of an offense for which the clerk is required by § 46.2-383 to furnish an abstract to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the records shall be destroyed when the juvenile has attained the age of 29. If the juvenile was found guilty of a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult, the records shall be retained.
B. In all files in which the court records concerning a juvenile contain a finding of guilty of a delinquent act which would be a felony if committed by an adult or an offense for which the clerk is required by § 46.2-383 to furnish an abstract to the Department of Motor Vehicles together with findings of not innocent of other acts, all of the records of such juvenile subject to this section shall be retained and available for inspection as provided in § 16.1-305.
C. A person who has been the subject of a delinquency or traffic proceeding and (i) has been found innocent thereof or (ii) such proceeding was otherwise dismissed, may file a motion requesting the destruction of all records pertaining to the charge of such an act of delinquency. Notice of such motion shall be given to the attorney for the Commonwealth. Unless good cause is shown why such records should not be destroyed, the court shall grant the motion, and shall send copies of the order to all officers or agencies that are repositories of such records, and all such officers and agencies shall comply with the order.
D. Each person shall be notified of his rights under subsections A and C of this section at the time of his dispositional hearing.
E. Upon destruction of the records of a proceeding as provided in subsections A, B, and C, the violation of law shall be treated as if it never occurred. All index references shall be deleted and the court and law-enforcement officers and agencies shall reply and the person may reply to any inquiry that no record exists with respect to such person.
F. All docket sheets shall be destroyed in the sixth year after the last hearing date recorded on the docket sheet.
The only way a juvenile can apply for expungement outside of the ordinary course outlined in that law is if he would qualify for an expungement under the standards used in adult court:
§ 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.
Unfortunately, that statute does not allow for expungement of convictions, only dismissals and acquittals.
There is just unfortunately no legal way around the 5-year waiting period other than obtaining a pardon. Information on seeking a pardon is located here:
They are not granted very often and only when there are compelling circumstances but since he was a juvenile at the time and he wants his record cleared to do something productive he might have success with the application.