Perhaps one of the hardest things that people arrested for minor indiscretions in Virginia must deal with is the long-term implications of having a criminal record. Potential employers, landlords, lenders and more often complete thorough background checks on people before making final decisions about employment, housing or loans and even a small blemish on people's records might hamper their ability to make a positive step forward in their lives.
Fortunately, 2018 saw the passage of some new bills that aimed to help Virginia residents have convictions or arrests expunged. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Senate Bill 403 was passed and it opens up the possibility of an expungement after successful completion of probation and the passage of five years after a case involving a minor in possession of alcohol or marijuana.
Senate Bill 334 also targets people arrested for possession of alcohol as a minor by allowing them to seek expungements once they are over the age of legal consent, which is 21. Finally, Senate Bil 954 gives defendants charged with a first-time possession of pot the chance to have a conviction deferred so long as they do not use the drug for a set time and complete required community service work. If they meet these requirements, they may apply for an expungement and pay a fee to complete the process.
If you would like to learn more about how to get help when seeking an expungement, please feel free to visit the defendant's rights page of our Virginia criminal defense and expungements website.