Commercial database aggregators have recently published compiled copies of Virginia’s courthouse records on the Internet.  This means that anyone who searches your name will see the original charge even tho you were found guilty of a lesser offense, like a civil infraction, not a crime.

Unfortunately, numerous third parties use this data in hiring or promotion decisions, determining credit and loan eligibility, selecting students for admission, etc.  One of my clients was recently determined to be eligible for a class-action lawsuit against an institutional employer that denied her a job based on an arrest record.  Even though I had ultimately convinced the Court to dismiss the charges, that case was still used against her in violation of her rights.

The problem that most of my clients face in this situation is having these past charges used against them without even knowing that it has happened.  Most employers who rely on commercial databases to research applicants will never disclose that.  The same goes for schools, lenders, and other institutions that do background checks (often without disclosing it to the applicant).  This makes it impossible for my clients to correct the record.

Another problem this has caused was in applications for certain jobs requiring background checks, positions with access to sensitive or classified information, as well as professional licenses.  For example, some employers or agencies such as the Bar may be allowed to ask on an application whether you have ever been charged with a crime.  In your case, the only lawful answer would be “Yes”.

But the law in Virginia states that if a charge has been expunged, you are legally entitled to answer “No.”  (see §19.2-392.4)  This is a big deal.  I could explain the legal technicalities as to why your case is probably eligible for expungement, but there is no time for that.  The longer your case remains in the state’s database, the more likely it is to be copied by a commercial aggregator and resold.  It may be harming you currently without any indication that you are being affected.

I cannot overemphasize how important it is to get started immediately in order to STOP the proliferation of this record in other databases.  Once it gets out there on the Internet, the cat is out of the bag and there is no way to undo the damage.  Take action – call me right now to get started at 1.866.VAN.WINS.