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Category: Criminal Law
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My friend was convicted of arson 13 years ago. She served 3

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My friend was convicted of arson 13 years ago. She served 3 months in jail and 1 year on probation. She was told she was. sentenced to life though no one was hurt. The crime was in Williamsburg, VA. Is she able to get her record exsponged? She reacted poorly to finding out her husband was sexually abusing their son so set the trailer on fire out of anger.

Welcome to JustAnswer.

Unfortunately, Virginia law is very strict on expungements. Only people who have been granted an “absolute pardon” are eligible to have a criminal conviction expunged. It does not matter how minor the offense, if it was a felony or misdemeanor, or if there were extenuating circumstances.

An "absolute pardon" is rarely granted because it is only granted when the Governor is convinced that the person was unjustly convicted and is factually innocent. An absolute pardon is the only form of executive clemency that would allow her to petition the court to have that conviction removed from her criminal record.

Given that she did set the fire, even though she was under a great deal of stress at the time, she would be ineligible for a pardon and thus an expungement because she is not factually innocent of the crime.

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