Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 19.4. Issuance of Writ of Vacatur for Victims of Commercial Sex Trafficking
6/13/2024

§ 19.2-327.18. Hearing on petition for vacatur.

A. If the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the petition is filed (i) gives written notice to the court that he does not object to the petition and (ii) stipulates in such written notice that the petitioner was convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a qualifying offense and that the petitioner committed the qualifying offense as a direct result of being a victim of sex trafficking, the circuit court may grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense without conducting a hearing.

B. If the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the petition is filed objects to the petition or does not file an answer, the court shall conduct a hearing on the petition after reasonable notice has been provided to both the petitioner and the attorney for the Commonwealth. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall make reasonable efforts to notify any victim, as defined in § 19.2-11.01, of any qualifying offense of such hearing. The circuit court shall not be required to conduct a hearing if it has previously dismissed a petition for vacatur from the same petitioner for the same qualifying offense.

C. Upon finding that the petitioner has by a preponderance of the evidence proven the elements contained in subsection A of § 19.2-327.17, the circuit court shall grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense. If the petitioner fails to prove any of these elements, the court shall dismiss the petition.

D. The court may grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense regardless of whether any person other than the petitioner has been charged or convicted of an offense related to the petitioner being a victim of sex trafficking.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 543.

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