People in Virginia who are arrested for and ultimately convicted of criminal offenses often want to understand the penalties they may face. In addition to the penalties, people should pay special attention to how they may rebuild their lives once they have served their sentences. For many, this can be made more difficult due to the laws that are in place. Today, many are calling for greater criminal justice reform in part to aid positive reintroductions for people being released from prisons.
A criminal record can affect many aspects of your life in Virginia and sometimes you may wish this record would disappear so you can have a clean start. In some situations, you may be able to get this start if a court expunges your record. At Robert F. Rider, PLC, we understand the importance of helping you know if this option is open to you.
The issue of expungement of a criminal record often creates a great deal of confusion amongst people in Roanoke. The common thought may be that expungement is the eliminating of a record of your criminal conviction, yet Virginia's laws only allow that privilege in a few select cases. Rather, expungement is typically available in those cases where criminal charges were not fully pursued. Indeed, Section 19.2-392.2 of the Code of Virginia lists cases where "nolle prosequi" is invoked as being among the scenarios where expungement is possible.
Anyone in Virginia who has ever been arrested for a crime knows how important it is to find ways to move forward and rebuild their lives in a positive way after such an experience. Having a criminal record eliminated, or expunged as it is called, is one thing that can help to facilitate this. The Center for American Progress has initiated a campaign called Clean Slate designed to provide for a better expungement process than many people currently experience.
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.
Should past mistakes follow Virginia residents around for the rest of their lives? We at the law office of Robert F. Rider believe that the answer is "not necessarily." A criminal charge or arrest can follow you around for a long time, and it can be difficult to get started on a new life when potential landlords and employers keep drudging up your past when you try to rent an apartment or apply for a job, but in some cases, it may be possible to remove past arrests or charges from your criminal record through the process of expungement, although the process is not easy and involves a lot of paperwork.
If you have a criminal conviction in Virginia, then you probably know how it can affect the many areas of your life. You could be unable to get certain jobs. It could keep you from renting from some landlords. It also could even make it difficult for you to volunteer at your child's school. To clear your record and remove that past conviction, you have to qualify for an expungement.
Having a criminal record can be a real hindrance to those trying to make lives for themselves in Roanoke. Imagine just starting in one's adult life and having to deal with such an issue. That is the struggle that many juvenile offenders face. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, roughly 2553 of every 100,000 juveniles ages 10-17 were arrested in 2016. Once those youths have completed whatever consequences resulted from their actions, how are they to avoid having their past criminal activity become a stumbling block for them in the future?
When some random guy on the street in Roanoke mistakes you for someone else, it is little more than an awkward inconvenience. When the Virginia state criminal database does, it can be devastating. You need only ask any of those that we here at Robert F. Rider, PLC have worked with to get an idea of how you mistakenly showing up in a criminal database can affect your life. You could be denied housing and/or employment, along with seeing the good reputation that you have cultivated in your community go down the drain. Yet such damage can be repaired.
For many people in Virginia who voted for the current Governor in the last election, the then-candidate's campaign pledge to work toward the legalization of marijuana may have been a key factor in their choice at the polls. As the last legislative session has now come to a close, however, their hopes may be somewhat diminished.