Can I Get My Misdemeanor Expunged from My Record in Virginia?

can a misdemeanor be expungedCan a misdemeanor be expunged in Virginia? The short answer to this question is “only rarely.” If you mean a misdemeanor conviction, getting a misdemeanor expunged in Virginia is possible only under certain limited circumstances.

At this point, with narrow exceptions, you can expunge only certain arrests and charges that did not lead to convictions.

In July 2025, a new law is coming into effect that will add many misdemeanor convictions to the list of actions that courts can expunge.

Sealing Versus Expungement: The Confusion

Some confusion exists about the difference between the terms “expunge” and “seal.” Virginia defines these terms similarly.

In most other states, expungement means complete destruction of a criminal record so that no one will ever see it again while sealing means concealing it from the public but not law enforcement.

In Virginia, the term “expungement” means essentially the same thing as sealing. If a Virginia court expunges your criminal record, the court can still access it.

Likewise, the police and prosecutors can still access it as long as the court issues an order permitting access. Employers, landlords, and the general public will not be able to access any record that a Virginia court has “expunged” or “sealed,” however.

What You Can Petition to Seal Under Current Law

As things stand right now, the only actions eligible for expungement are:

  • Charges that the prosecution dropped,
  • Arrests that did not lead to convictions,
  • Acquittals,
  • Dismissals of misdemeanor charges that a court granted at the request of the victim,
  • Dismissals were issued for certain other reasons,
  • Charges based on mistaken identity,
  • Convictions that were erased by an absolute pardon, and
  • Juvenile convictions.

The law allowing expungement of the foregoing actions will remain in effect even after the new law goes into effect. The new law will simply add to the items that Virginia can expunge from your record.

Erasing Your Record from the Internet

From a practical point of view, expunging or sealing your record will do you absolutely no good if the internet contains copies of your expunged records.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of companies that put criminal records on the internet. And let’s face it, the internet is probably the first tool that a potential employer, landlord, or even lover is likely to use to check your background.

Fortunately, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a legal weapon you can use to demand that these companies remove expunged information about you from the internet.

Since the FCRA is federal law, it is valid throughout the country, so you can use it against a company located in any state.

It’s important to take whatever action is available to you to remove expunged information from the internet.

If an internet background check company reports true information about you and your employer gets hold of it, how are you going to prove that the information is not true?

You can’t. The information would be true, even though it is confidential. There would be no way to stuff the genie back into the bottle.

Your Right to Sue

If you find expunged information about you on the internet, you should send a cease and desist letter to the company, along with proof of the expungement.

As a general statement, you can file a lawsuit under the FCRA if the company refuses to delete your information within a reasonable time. But you are going to need a skilled lawyer to prevail under such circumstances.

Can You Get a Misdemeanor Expunged Under the 2025 Law?

Virginia’s new expungement law has already passed, but it will not go into effect until 2025. The law will allow people to petition for the expungement of Class 5 or Class 6 felonies, almost all misdemeanors, grand larceny, and dismissals pursuant to a deferral for a first offense.

DUI is one of the few misdemeanors that you will still not be able to expunge after 2025.

Automatic Sealing

Although in most cases you must petition a court for expungement, after 2025 Virginia authorities will automatically seal certain types of misdemeanor records after seven years, including:

  • Underage possession of alcohol,
  • Simple larceny,
  • Disorderly conduct,
  • Trespassing, and
  • Possession of marijuana.

Automatic sealing will be available only if you are free of any further criminal conviction during the seven-year period.

It’s Time to Act

If you think that you might qualify for a misdemeanor expungement, don’t delay discussing your situation with an experienced expungement attorney—you should talk to your attorney about petitioning for expungement as soon as you become eligible.

Expungement is a political hot button, and you will certainly regret delaying your expungement process if Virginia changes its expungement laws to your disadvantage.

 

My name is Andrew Flusche, and I know how to file for expungement in a way that maximizes your chances of success. I have helped clients navigate the Virginia expungement process, and I have the experience to do the same for you.

Call me at 540-318-5824, email me at andrew@andrewflusche.com, or contact me online for a free consultation.

 

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then, I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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