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What is an automatic expungement?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Expungement |

Did you know that there is an automatic expungement? Some people can benefit from this helpful tool that was introduced in the 2020 Special Session of the Virginia State Crime Commission. An automatic expungement is started by the Commonwealth of Virginia and allows a defendant to have relief from a conviction without needing to file for it.

There are some other states who offer this service including California, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Utah. Why do they do this?

A criminal conviction can negatively impact a person’s life for the long-term

One reason that the automatic expungement process is important is because of how seriously a person’s life can be impacted by a criminal conviction even after they have served their time in prison or paid the penalties.

It’s known that a criminal charge or conviction can impact several parts of a person’s life, including:

  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Loan eligibility
  • Credit score
  • Employment
  • Higher education and a right to financial aid

For these and other reasons, it’s important to look at expungement as a way to allow people to move forward after they have paid for their actions.

What does expungement do for you?

Expungement is helpful because it helps to address the collateral consequences that a person can face after a conviction. For example, if a criminal charge is expunged, then they may have an easier time finding work after being released from prison. This allows the person to merge back into society more easily, so they can move forward with their life in a productive manner.

Expungement also allows for conviction relief for those in communities who have been disparately impacted because of the way the criminal justice system works.

You may be able to use an automatic expungement

This endorsed legislation passed in 2021, which means that an automatic expungement may be available depending on the conviction or charges that you have in your past. If you’re not sure if you qualify, it’s a good idea to learn more about your rights and how the Commonwealth is taking steps to create a more equitable Virginia for everyone who lives there.