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how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in va and is

Customer Question

how long does a misdemeanor stay on your record in va and is there any way to get it removed early?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 6 years ago.

Hi Holly,


A misdemeanor will stay on a person's record until it is expunged. Expungement of the record of an arrest and the court proceedings for a criminal charge is a civil law remedy available for individuals who can claim to be innocent of a charge brought against them. This remedy, for adults, is authorized in Virginia Code § 19.2-392.2. The Legislature has provided for expungement of official records in order to help innocent individuals more easily obtain employment, education or credit. The legislation defines who is eligible to seek expungement, but leaves discretion for judges to determine from those who meet the statute's eligibility requirements who should be granted this relief.


A person seeking expungement of their records in VA has to be eligible to apply. Here are the following ways one could meet that requirement:


1) A defendant in a criminal case who appears and enters a "not guilty" plea, and then is tried by a judge or jury and is acquitted of all charges.

2) A party in a civil action who is arrested or is charged with contempt of court, but who is not found guilty of this charge.

3) A defendant in a criminal case that the Commonwealth Attorney's office decides not to prosecute, by filing a motion to nolle prosequi the charge(s). • A defendant who is charged with assault and battery or a misdemeanor for which there is a remedy by civil action when the injured party acknowledges to the court that there has been satisfaction for the injury, and the court grants an order discharging the case pursuant to Virginia Code § 19.2-151.

4) An individual's name or identification have been used without consent or authorization by a defendant in a criminal case or cases.

5) A defendant who has been convicted of a crime is subsequently granted an Absolute Pardon based upon determination of an unjust conviction.


Please let me know if you think you qualify and I will let you know your next steps.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I had already pleaded guilty, as this was five years ago, i have been told that i misdemeanor came off your record and a felony stayed on your record, and when i called the court they told me a misdemeanor comes off after 10 years but when i went to court i was told 5, now it never comes off unless you are basicly not guity?
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 6 years ago.
Were you convicted as a juvenile or adult?
Customer: replied 6 years ago. adult, i was 20...i served community service, i don't know if that makes a difference or not.
Expert:  LADYLAWYER replied 6 years ago.

I wouldn't have asked if it didn't make a difference. Many times, states have laws that allow a juvenile's record to be expunged automatically at a certain age.


I am afraid whomever you have been speaking to has been giving you misinformation about this misdemeanor dropping off your record. A court clerk is not an attorney and should not be giving you legal advice. The statutes are very specific and unless you meet one of the qualifications I outlined for you above, then you cannot get the misdemeanor removed from your record. Here is the statute in full: URL REMOVED?000+cod+19.2-392.2 However, an employer cannot ask you on an application if you have been charged with a misdemeanor, only a felony. So if no background check is done, you have nothing to worry about. At the same time, even if a background check is done, a potential employer will not care about a misdemeanor.


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