Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 6. Criminal Justice And Corrections
Agency 20. Department of Criminal Justice Services
Chapter 120. Regulations Relating to Criminal History Record Information Use and Security

6VAC20-120-80. Expungement and sealing.

A. The expungement of a criminal history record or portion thereof is only permitted on the basis of a court order. Upon receipt of a court order, petition, and other supporting documents for the expungement of a criminal history record, the superintendent, pursuant to § 19.2-392.2 of the Code of Virginia, shall by letter with an enclosed copy of the order direct the Central Criminal Records Exchange and those agencies and individuals known to maintain or to have obtained such a record to remove the electronic or manual record or portion thereof from its repository and place it in a physically sealed, separate file. The file shall be properly indexed to allow for later retrieval of the record if required by court order, and the record shall be labeled with the following designation: "EXPUNGED RECORD TO BE UNSEALED ONLY BY COURT ORDER."

B. Responsibility of agencies with a record to be expunged. The record named in the Virginia Department of State Police's letter shall be removed from normal access. The expunged information shall be sealed but remain available, as the courts may call for its reopening at a later date. (See § 19.2-392.3 of the Code of Virginia.) Access to the record shall be possible only through a name index of expunged records maintained either with the expunged records or in a manner that will allow subsequent retrieval of the expunged record as may be required by the court or as part of the department's audit procedures. Should the name index make reference to the expunged record, it shall be apart from normally accessed files.

C. Procedure for expungement and sealing of electronic and hard copy records.

1. The expungement and sealing of hard copy original records of entry (arrest forms) is accomplished by physically removing them from a file and filing them in a physically secure location elsewhere, apart from normally accessed files. This file should be used only for expunged records and should be accessible only to the manager of records.

2. If the information to be expunged is included among other information that has not been expunged on the same form or piece of paper, the expunged information shall be obliterated on the original or the original shall be retyped eliminating the expunged information. The expunged information shall then be placed in the file for expunged records, in its original or copied form, and shall be accessible only to the manager of records.

3. If the expunged information is located on a criminal history record provided by the Central Criminal Records Exchange (i.e., "RAP sheet"), the criminal history record information shall be destroyed, and a new copy, not containing the expunged data, shall be obtained when necessary.

D. Procedure for expunging automated records. Should the record to be expunged be maintained in an automated system, the Central Criminal Record Exchange or the agency known to possess such a record shall copy the automated record onto an off-line medium such as hard disk drive, USB flash drive, or hard copy printouts. The expunged record, regardless of the type of medium on which it is maintained, shall then be kept in a file used for expunged records and sealed from normal use, accessible only to the manager of records. No notification that expunged data exists shall be left in the normally accessed files.

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, any imaged case records maintained in any circuit court, general district court, or juvenile and domestic relations district court case imaging system operated by the Office of the Executive Secretary for the Supreme Court of Virginia that are to be expunged may be transferred to a confidential and secure area inaccessible from normal use within the case imaging system and shall be considered sealed. Access to the expunged, imaged case records shall be limited to the manager of records for the court with the exception of designated staff within the Office of the Executive Secretary who are responsible for the operation of such case imaging systems and have access to the confidential and secure area for the discrete purpose of providing the manager of the records access to the secure area. No notification that expunged data exists shall be left in the normally accessed case imaging system. Any related records that are maintained in an electronic order book shall also be deleted.

E. Department to be notified following expungement. Upon receipt of a request from the Virginia Department of State Police to expunge and seal a record, the affected agency or agencies shall perform the steps of this section, and notify the Virginia Department of State Police of their action in writing within 60 days of their receipt of the request.

F. Expungement order not received by department. Should a court ordered expungement be directed to a criminal justice agency other than the Virginia Department of State Police, the directed criminal justice agency shall comply as outlined in this section and advise the superintendent without delay of such order. The superintendent shall, upon receipt of such notification, obtain a copy of the order from the appropriate circuit court.

Statutory Authority

§§ 9.1-102 and 9.1-131 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR240-02-1 § 2.6, eff. April 1, 1986; amended, Virginia Register Volume 6, Issue 4, eff. January 1, 1990; Volume 10, Issue 7, eff. February 1, 1994; Volume 22, Issue 20, eff. July 12, 2006; Volume 33, Issue 3, eff. November 4, 2016.

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