Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Virginia

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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If you were under the age of 18 when you were convicted of a crime, then you may be able to get your criminal history record expunged. For some types of violations, expungement happens automatically and there is nothing that you need to do. With the exception of violent felonies or motor vehicle code violations, in Virginia most records of juvenile offenses are kept confidential by law enforcement, so you may want to consult an attorney before pursuing the expungement of such a record (if it hasn’t happened or isn’t scheduled to happen automatically). You can have only one criminal history record expunged in your lifetime. If a minor wishes to pursue expungement of his or her criminal record, eligibility criteria and procedures are found in Virginia Code §16.1-306.

Automatic Eligibility: Each year the records of any juvenile who has reached 19 years of age are destroyed, provided that 5 years have elapsed from the date of the last hearing.

If the offense was a motor vehicle violation, then the criminal record will be maintained until the age of 29.

For offenses that would be felonies if committed by an adult, the records of such acts are not automatically destroyed.

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court is responsible for automatic destructions. Contact the clerk of the court for more information.

Non-Automatic Eligibility: Juveniles (a) who were subjects of delinquency proceedings or traffic proceedings and (b) who were found innocent (or had the charges dismissed) can request all criminal records destroyed without waiting for the automatic process to occur at age 19/29.

Juveniles Found Guilty: A juvenile found guilty in a delinquency proceeding can still clear their criminal record. As stated in the statutes, a guilty finding will not “impose any civil disabilities ordinarily imposed by conviction for a crime, nor shall ]it fix text]…disqualify the child for employment by any state or local governmental agency.” (Virginia Code Sec. 16.1-308) If you think you may qualify under any of these juvenile expungement conditions, it is highly recommended to use an experienced lawyer to be sure the petition is file correctly and that you meet all the stringent and extensive rules for eligibility.

For other articles on Virginia expungement of criminal records, click on the following:

Overview of Virginia Criminal History Record Expungements
Eligibility for Expunging and Sealing Adult Criminal records in Virginia
Process for Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Virginia
Process for Expunging Juvenile Criminal Records in Virginia
Do I Need an Attorney to Expunge My Criminal Record in Virginia?

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