In Virginia, being charged with reckless driving is not the same as getting a ticket for failing to yield or another minor traffic violation. You are being charged with a misdemeanor offense that carries serious penalties that include a jail sentence, fines, and a possible license suspension. A charge and conviction can have long-term consequences because you will have a permanent criminal record with limited options to have your criminal record expunged.
When Are You Entitled to an Expungement in Virginia?
Expungement is the process of removing all record of a person’s arrest and conviction from his criminal record. If a criminal record is expunged, all record of the arrest and conviction are removed from the Virginia Criminal Information Network and the National Crime Information Network. This prevents any public access to a person’s criminal record by employers, educational institutions, and state agencies and allows the person to treat the arrest as if it never occurred.
However, your right to an expungement in Virginia is very limited. You are only entitled to have your record expunged in these circumstances:
- Acquittal. You were acquitted of the reckless driving charge either by a jury or judge.
- Nolle prosequi. This is a Latin term that refers to a decision by the prosecutor to not prosecute the case where he asks the judge to dismiss the case against you.
- No plea. If you never entered a plea before the charges were dismissed, you may be entitled to an expungement.
Because of the limitations for when a reckless driving conviction can be expunged, you will still have a criminal record in these situations:
- You pled guilty to or were convicted of reckless driving.
- You entered a plea of nolo contender, which means that you do not admit or deny the charges that you face.
- You entered an Alfred plea, where you asserted your innocence but admitted that the prosecutor probably had sufficient evidence to convict you.
- There was sufficient evidence to convict you, even if the judge dismissed the case.
- Your sentence was deferred or dismissed after the successful completion of your sentence.
Because your right to obtain an expungement is very limited, it is critical that you retain an experienced reckless driving attorney to build a strong defense, so the charges against you are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense. To learn about our extensive experience helping clients facing reckless driving charges and how we can assist you, call our office today to schedule your free case evaluation.