If I was found guilty of a misdemeanor in a Fairfax court 20 years ago, can I get the record expunged?

You cannot get records expunged if the court ruled you guilty.

An expungement is a legal action to delete police and court records associated with a criminal case. The records will not be truly destroyed, but they will be sealed and blocked from public access.

Criminal records can be expunged if any of these actions has occurred:

  • Acquittal;
  • Nolle prosequi (a Latin term meaning “do not pursue [prosecute]”;
  • Dismissal (with the exception of delayed imposition dismissal);
  • Absolute pardon; or
  • An individual’s name used in error.

In addition to filling out the appropriate forms and paying related fees, a person requesting expungement must go to the police and have a new set of fingerprints taken. The police send the new fingerprint card with the Petition for Expungement to the state police, who then run a criminal history check. The person requesting expungement must verify that the court has received the fingerprint card and the criminal history. The case will be heard in court, and the petitioner must attend the hearing.

Once the judge makes a decision, the clerk of the court mails the petitioner a certified copy of the final order either granting or denying the expungement. Removal of the record from public access can take from 90 to 180 days from the date the state police receive the order to expunge. Once expunged, the record can only be opened if a court order is granted.

If you have a criminal record in Northern Virginia, and contact the Fairfax criminal defense lawyers at Taylor Law Company. Call us at 703-385-5529, and we’ll set you up with a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.