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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4498
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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My son is 19, he has 7 misdemeanor charges as a 15 year old.

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My son is 19, he has 7 misdemeanor charges as a 15 year old. He is in college, on the deans list, and is in the Army ROTC. He wanted to be a Navy Seal, however, the Navy, Marines, Air Force would not take him because of his juvenile record. Is there anyway to ask the judge to remove the least a few, I think it is 5 maximum misdemeanors. This affects scholarships, internships, jobs and now the military. He has completely turned his life around. Can you help?


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.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your prompt answer. Is this true in the state of Virginia, I know states differ on legalities? Can a judge dismiss one of the charges early if he sees fit? Do you know if there is anyway the military will overlook 7 misdemeanors?

The law that I provided you is the law in Virginia. It is stricter than some states. Others allow for expungement of a juvenile record when the person turns 18. But Virgina imposes this waiting period, and since the convictions occurred there, the expungement process there must be followed. Unfortunately, the statute does not allow judges to exercise their own discretion and do it early. Judges are required to follow the law as it stands, which prevents them from doing an early dismissal or expungement.

I do not have much experience in the military so I would suggest that he contact a recruiter. Each branch has a different policy, and I know some of them will overlook convictions if he obtains a waiver. These articles might help answer your question, but a recruiter with the branch he wants to join would have the most information:
Hammer O'Justice and other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much, as a Mother of a son who made mistakes as a teen and has completely turned his life around, I feel compelled to try everything possible to help him succeed. He is an awesome child.


Have a blessed day!

I hope you are able to work something out for him. Please leave positive feedback so I get credited for my answer. Take care!