The Attorneys at John W. Lee, PC Are Ready to Help You Seal Your Criminal Record
New 2021 Law Passed Allowing Convicted Criminals to Petition the Court to Have Their Criminal Record Sealed!
Please call 757-896-0868 to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers today. Remember, you must petition to have your record sealed in the city or county where you were convicted, not necessarily where you live now. We will be happy to help you seal your record if you were convicted of an offense in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, York County, Williamsburg, or surrounding areas.
However, if you were convicted of an offense in the western part of the State, you should contact an attorney that practices in the town where you were convicted. If you have them available, bring with you to the consultation your birth certificate, social security card (or other official document with your SSN on it), and a copy of the criminal conviction you wish to have sealed.
Sealing Criminal Records
The Virginia General Assembly Passed a New Law in 2021 That for the First Time Would Allow a Convicted Criminal to Petition the Court to Have His Criminal Record Sealed. Once you have your criminal record sealed, certain non-law enforcement employers will not be able to see the records. Having your criminal record sealed is not the same thing as having it expunged. An expunged record is essentially deleted and non-retrievable. A sealed record may be retrieved by law enforcement or seen by employers that require a security clearance.
It is still very difficult to obtain an Expungement in Virginia as the petitioner must have been found to be Not Guilty or the that the charges were dropped. In contrast to the expungement, even if you were convicted of the offense, you may still have your records sealed in Virginia.
You are not entitled to have any record sealed if you have ever been convicted of any Class 1 or Class 2 felony. You are not entitled to have any record sealed if you have been convicted of any Class 3 or Class 4 felony in the past 20 years. But, if you have not been convicted of any felony in the past 10 years and have not been convicted of any misdemeanor in the past 7 years, then you may be entitled to have your criminal record sealed. Also, you cannot have more than two criminal records sealed during your lifetime.
There are a few criminal convictions that you may not have sealed, they include:
- Involuntary manslaughter caused by driving while intoxicated;
- Involuntary manslaughter caused by operating a watercraft while intoxicated;
- Maiming a person while driving intoxicated;
- Assault and Battery against a family member or household member;
- Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated;
- Driving a Commercial vehicle while intoxicated.
If you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed, then the process is straight forward. You need to file a petition in the circuit court for the city or county where the case was disposed of, along with a copy of the warrant, summons, or indictment, if available. The Commonwealth shall be made party to the case and shall provide the court with a copy of the petitioner’s criminal history. The court may conduct a hearing but is not required to if the Commonwealth agrees that the petition to seal the record should be granted. The court shall enter an order sealing the criminal record if the court finds that the petitioner is eligible.
If you are interested in having a criminal record sealed by a Virginia Circuit Court, then you should start by contacting an attorney to help you start drafting your petition. Your attorney will need a few things from you, including a copy of the criminal summons or indictment, date of the final disposition of the charge, your date-of-birth, sex, race, and social security number.
There are several benefits to having your criminal record sealed. Having your criminal record sealed could make getting a job easier. While jobs that require a security clearance or with law enforcement may still be able to access your record, other employers will not. Even if you already have a good job, it may be easier to get promoted if your record is sealed. Also, a criminal record could make it more difficult to qualify to rent from some landlords. The criminal record may prevent you from accessing nicer, safer neighborhoods. Finally, a criminal record could prevent you from accessing certain educational goals. If you are concerned about any of these things, you should consult with an attorney to help you seal your criminal record.