Expungement Guide

West Virginia Expungement

West Virginia Expungement
The sealing of criminal records is called expungement. This disallows the general public from seeing criminal histories of individuals. The expungement process allows individuals to have the opportunity of normal lives after sentences and fines have been served. West Virginia has specific stipulations for those who qualify for expungement. The elimination of criminal records is available for those who were not convicted of an offense, those under certain criminal convictions as set by the state of West Virginia, the records for first-time conviction in certain crimes of drug relation, most juvenile records, and pardoning by a judge or the governor.

Expungements are by the order of the court and are available via petition. If an individual qualifies for expungement, he or she must petition the correct court in charge of the case. West Virginia also requests that the prosecuting parties be notified, including the prosecuting attorney. The granting of expungement is at the discretion of the court, which has the full authority to deny a request for legal reasoning. If a petition has been filed incorrectly or if granting the petition is not found in the favor of the court, the expungement will be denied.

West Virginia Misdemeanor Expungement
The state of West Virginia limits the expungement for misdemeanor offenses. Only certain drug-related first-time offenses and certain juvenile convictions of misdemeanors may be eligible. Because some crimes are so severe, they are not deemed by West Virginia to be erased from an individual's records. This is similar to those of multiple charges.

West Virginia Felony Expungement
No violent crime in West Virginia may be expunged. These can include murder in various degrees, manslaughter, arson, capital offenses, and rape. Certain juvenile felony records and certain first offenses of drug-related convictions may be eligible for record sealing according to law.

Driving Under the Influence Expungement
Limitations have been set for driving under the influence convictions. Expungement for DUI offenses is possible but only under particular circumstances. Because DUI convictions are difficult to expunge, it is advised to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Expungement Eligibility
West Virginia law has set aside three basic rules for expungement. First is that no violent crimes are ever eligible for expungement. Second states that only particular first-time drug offenses are eligible for petitioning. And third states that juvenile offenses are most often eligible but depends on the imposed sentence and the sentence's completion. Expungement forms can be obtained through a criminal defense attorney or at the through the court in which the conviction was set.

Arrest records are also eligible for expungement in West Virginia if the arrest has not led to further charges or convictions. A criminal record may be reversed if an individual has proven evidence that the court made an error in conviction. If sufficient evidence is presented, then criminal charges can be dropped and expungement may be possible. Because most expungement cases in West Virginia are difficult, it is often advised to consult an attorney as he or she will have experience and will be able to help determine the eligibility for record sealing.

See also:
West Virginia Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
West Virginia Felony External link (opens in new window)
West Virginia Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)