Virginia Expungement Laws

This guide aims to provide clear, detailed information on how to approach expungement in Virginia, including eligibility, the application process, and what changes are expected in the near future.

Navigating the process of expunging a criminal record in Virginia can be complex, but understanding the specifics can make a significant difference.

Understanding Expungement in Virginia

Expungement refers to the legal process of removing a charge or conviction from an individual's criminal record. In Virginia, the laws surrounding expungement are specific and offer a pathway for individuals to clear their records under certain conditions.

Who Qualifies for Expungement?

Eligibility for expungement in Virginia is primarily determined by the outcome of the case. If you were acquitted, found not guilty, or the charges against you were dismissed, you might be eligible for expungement. However, the laws are more restrictive for those with convictions, with limited opportunities for expungement.

Official Resources

  1. Virginia Law on Expungement: The Code of Virginia outlines the legal framework for expungements in Chapter 23.1 of Title 19.2, providing the foundational legal text on the subject.

  2. Guide: A comprehensive guide to expungements in Virginia can be found on, offering free and low-cost advice tailored to individuals seeking expungement.

  3. Legal Aid Justice Center: Detailed information on the 2021 record-sealing updates in Virginia is available through the Legal Aid Justice Center.

  4. Recent Law Updates: For insights into the new Virginia expungement law, Carmichael, Ellis, & Brock PLLC provides an overview at

  5. Future Changes: Significant changes expected in 2025 are discussed in detail by Abrenio Law at

The Process of Applying for Expungement

Applying for expungement in Virginia involves several steps, including:

  1. Determine Eligibility: First, verify your eligibility for expungement based on the outcome of your case and the type of charge.

  2. Petition for Expungement: File a petition for expungement with the circuit court in the jurisdiction where the case was originally heard. This includes completing specific forms and possibly providing a copy of your criminal record.

  3. Pay Required Fees: Be prepared to pay any associated fees, though these can vary. Some recent discussions, such as those found on, highlight concerns over high fees and long wait times.

  4. Fingerprinting and Background Check: You will likely need to submit fingerprints, which are used to conduct a background check.

  5. Court Hearing: In some cases, a court hearing is required, during which you must present your case for why the expungement should be granted.

Upcoming Changes

Significant reforms to expungement laws are on the horizon for Virginia, with notable changes expected in 2025. These reforms aim to expand eligibility and streamline the process, making it more accessible for individuals seeking to clear their records.


  • Will my expunged record show up on a background check in Virginia? Typically, an expunged record will not appear on most background checks, but there are exceptions for certain types of employment.

  • What is the clean slate law in Virginia? The clean slate law refers to upcoming legislation aimed at automatically sealing certain criminal records, part of broader reforms to make expungement more accessible.

  • What is the new sealing law in Virginia? This law, part of the 2021 reforms, expands the scope of records eligible for sealing, offering more individuals a chance to clear their records.


Navigating the expungement process in Virginia requires a clear understanding of the current laws, eligibility criteria, and the application process. By utilizing the official resources provided and staying informed on upcoming changes, individuals seeking expungement can take crucial steps towards clearing their records and moving forward with their lives.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

Counsel Stack develops grounded language models equipped with research, retrieval, and drafting tools. We offer legal leads, pre-built intelligent applications, and white label solutions.

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