Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 23.2. Sealing of Criminal History Record Information and Court Records
12/8/2021

§ 19.2-392.8. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Automatic sealing of offenses resulting in acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal.

A. If a person is charged with the commission of a misdemeanor offense, excluding traffic infractions under Title 46.2, and (i) the person is acquitted, (ii) a nolle prosequi is entered, or (iii) the charge is otherwise dismissed, excluding any charge that is deferred and dismissed after a finding of facts sufficient to justify a finding of guilt, the court disposing of the matter shall, at the time the acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal is entered, order that the charge be automatically sealed under the process described in § 19.2-392.13, unless the attorney for the Commonwealth or any other person advises the court at the time the acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal is entered that:

1. The charge is ancillary to another charge that resulted in a conviction or a finding of facts sufficient to justify a finding of guilt;

2. A nolle prosequi is entered or the charge is dismissed as part of a plea agreement;

3. Another charge arising out of the same facts and circumstances is pending against the person;

4. The Commonwealth intends to reinstitute the charge or any other charge arising out of the same facts and circumstances within three months;

5. Good cause exists, as established by the Commonwealth by a preponderance of the evidence, that such charge should not be automatically sealed; or

6. The person charged with the offense objects to such automatic sealing.

B. If a person is charged with the commission of a felony offense and is acquitted, or the charge against him is dismissed with prejudice, he may immediately upon the acquittal or dismissal orally request that the records relating to the charge be sealed. Upon such request and with the concurrence of the attorney for the Commonwealth, the court shall order the automatic sealing of records relating to the arrest or charge under the process described in § 19.2-392.13.

C. If the court enters an order of sealing pursuant to subsection A or B, the court shall advise the person that the offense has been ordered to be automatically sealed.

D. Any denial by the court to enter a sealing order under subsection A or B shall be without prejudice, and the person may seek expungement in the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.2. Entry of a sealing order under subsection A or B shall not prohibit the person from seeking expungement in the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.2.

E. Any order to seal issued pursuant to this section shall be sealed and may only be disseminated for the purposes set forth in § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134.

F. If an offense is automatically sealed contrary to law, the automatic sealing of that particular offense shall be voidable upon motion and notice made within two years of the entry of the order to automatically seal such offense.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524, 542.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.