Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 23.2. Sealing of Criminal History Record Information and Court Records
1/21/2022

Chapter 23.2. Sealing of Criminal History Record Information and Court Records.

§ 19.2-392.5. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Sealing defined; effect of sealing.

A. As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning, "sealing" means to (i) restricting dissemination of criminal history record information contained in the Central Criminal Records Exchange, including any records relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction, in accordance with the purposes set forth in § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and the procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134 and (ii) prohibiting dissemination of court records related to an arrest, charge, or conviction, unless such dissemination is authorized by a court order for one or more of the purposes set forth in § 19.2-392.13. "Sealing" may be required either by the issuance of a court order following the filing of a petition or automatically by operation of law under the processes set forth in this chapter.

B. The provisions of this chapter shall only apply to adults who were arrested, charged, or convicted of a criminal offense and to juveniles who were tried in circuit court pursuant to § 16.1-269.1.

C. Records relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction that have been sealed may be disseminated only for 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. The court, except as provided in subsection B of § 19.2-392.14, and any law-enforcement agency shall reply to any inquiry that no record exists with respect to an arrest, charge, or conviction that has been sealed, unless such information is permitted to be disclosed pursuant to § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134. A clerk of any court and the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall be immune from any cause of action arising from the production of sealed court records, including electronic records, absent gross negligence or willful misconduct. This subsection shall not be construed to limit, withdraw, or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law or to affect any cause of action accruing prior to the effective date of this section.

D. Except as otherwise provided in this section, upon entry of an order for sealing, the person who was arrested, charged, or convicted of the offense that was ordered to be sealed may deny or not disclose to any state or local government agency or to any private employer in the Commonwealth that such an arrest, charge, or conviction occurred. Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person as to whom an order for sealing has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of that person's denial or failure to disclose any information concerning an arrest, charge, or conviction that has been sealed.

E. A person who is the subject of the order of sealing entered pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 may not deny or fail to disclose information to any employer or prospective employer about an offense that has been ordered to be sealed if:

1. The person is applying for full-time employment or part-time employment with, or to be a volunteer with, the State Police or a police department or sheriff's office that is a part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof;

2. This Code requires the employer to make such an inquiry;

3. Federal law requires the employer to make such an inquiry;

4. The position, or access to the premises in or upon which any part of the duties of such position is performed or is to be performed, is subject to any requirement imposed in the interest of the national security of the United States under any security program in effect pursuant to or administered under any contract with, or statute or regulation of, the United States or any Executive Order of the President; or

5. The rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134 allow the employer to access such sealed records.

Failure to disclose such sealed arrest, charge, or conviction, if such failure to disclose was knowing or willful, shall be a ground for prosecution of perjury as provided for in § 18.2-434.

F. An order to seal an arrest, charge, or conviction entered pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 shall not relieve the person who was arrested, charged, or convicted of any obligation to pay all fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, or restitution in relation to the offense that was ordered to be sealed.

G. Any arrest, charge, or conviction sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 may be admissible and considered in proceedings relating to the care and custody of a child. A person as to whom an order for sealing has been entered may be required to disclose a sealed arrest, charge, or conviction as part of such proceedings. Failure to disclose such sealed arrest, charge, or conviction, if such failure to disclose was knowing or willful, shall be a ground for prosecution of perjury as provided for in § 18.2-434.

H. Any arrest, charge, or conviction sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 shall not be (i) disclosed in any sentencing report; (ii) considered when ascertaining the punishment of a defendant; or (iii) considered in any hearing on the issue of bail, release, or detention of a defendant.

I. Any arrest, charge, or conviction sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 shall not constitute a barrier crime as defined in § 19.2-392.02, except as otherwise required under federal law.

J. A person shall be required to disclose any felony conviction sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.12 for purposes of determining that person's eligibility to be empaneled as a member of a jury. Failure to disclose such conviction, if such failure to disclose was knowing or willful, shall be a ground for prosecution of perjury as provided for in § 18.2-434.

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

§ 19.2-392.6. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Automatic sealing of offenses resulting in a deferred and dismissed disposition or conviction.

A. If a person was charged with an offense in violation of § 4.1-305 or former § 18.2-250.1, and such offense was deferred and dismissed as provided in § 4.1-305 or 18.2-251, such offense, including any records relating to such offense, shall be ordered to be automatically sealed in the manner set forth in § 19.2-392.7, subject to the provisions of subsections C and D.

B. If a person was convicted of a violation of any of the following sections, such conviction, including any records relating to such conviction, shall be ordered to be automatically sealed in the manner set forth in § 19.2-392.7, subject to the provisions of subsections C and D: § 4.1-305, 18.2-96, 18.2-103, 18.2-119, 18.2-120, or 18.2-134; a misdemeanor violation of § 18.2-248.1; or former § 18.2-250.1 or 18.2-415.

C. Subject to the provisions of subsection D, any offense listed under subsection A and any conviction listed under subsection B shall be ordered to be automatically sealed if seven years have passed since the date of the dismissal or conviction and the person charged with or convicted of such offense has not been convicted of violating any law of the Commonwealth that requires a report to the Central Criminal Records Exchange under subsection A of § 19.2-390 or any other state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or any territory thereof, excluding traffic infractions under Title 46.2, during that time period.

D. No offense listed under subsection A shall be automatically sealed if, on the date of the deferral or dismissal, the person was convicted of another offense that is not eligible for automatic sealing under subsection A or B. No conviction listed under subsection B shall be automatically sealed if, on the date of the conviction, the person was convicted of another offense that is not eligible for automatic sealing under subsection A or B.

E. This section shall not be construed as prohibiting a person from seeking sealing in the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.12.

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

§ 19.2-392.7. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Process for automatic sealing of offenses resulting in a conviction or deferred disposition.

A. On at least a monthly basis, the Department of State Police shall determine which offenses in the Central Criminal Records Exchange meet the criteria for automatic sealing set forth in § 19.2-392.6.

B. After reviewing the offenses under subsection A, the Department of State Police shall provide an electronic list of all offenses that meet the criteria for automatic sealing set forth in § 19.2-392.6 to the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and to any circuit court clerk who maintains a case management system that interfaces with the Department of State Police under subsection B1 of § 17.1-502.

C. Upon receipt of the electronic list from the Department of State Police provided under subsection B, on at least a monthly basis the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall provide an electronic list of all offenses that meet the criteria for automatic sealing set forth in § 19.2-392.6 to the clerk of each circuit court in the jurisdiction where the case was finalized, if such circuit court clerk participates in the case management system maintained by the Executive Secretary.

D. Upon receipt of the electronic list provided under subsection B or C, on at least a monthly basis the clerk of each circuit court shall prepare an order and the chief judge of that circuit court shall enter such order directing that the offenses that meet the criteria for automatic sealing set forth in § 19.2-392.6 be automatically sealed under the process described in § 19.2-392.13. Such order shall contain the names of the persons charged with or convicted of such offenses.

E. The clerk of each circuit court shall provide an electronic copy of any order entered under subsection D to the Department of State Police on at least a monthly basis. Upon receipt of such order, the Department of State Police shall proceed as set forth in § 19.2-392.13.

F. 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.

G. 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.

§ 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.

§ 19.2-392.9. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Automatic sealing for mistaken identity or unauthorized use of identifying information.

A. If (i) a person is charged or arrested as a result of mistaken identity or (ii) a person's name or other identification is used without his consent or authorization by another person who is charged or arrested using such name or identification, and a nolle prosequi is entered or the charge is otherwise dismissed, the attorney for the Commonwealth or any other person requesting the nolle prosequi or dismissal shall notify the court of the mistaken identity or unauthorized use of identifying information at the time such request is made. Upon such notification, the court disposing of the matter shall, at the time the nolle prosequi or dismissal is entered, order that the charge be automatically sealed under the process described in § 19.2-392.13, unless the person charged or arrested as a result of the mistaken identity or unauthorized use of identifying information objects to such automatic sealing.

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

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

D. 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.

E. 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.

§ 19.2-392.10. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Process for automatic sealing of offenses resulting in acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal.

A. On at least a monthly basis, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and any circuit court clerk who maintains a case management system that interfaces with the Department of State Police under subsection B1 of § 17.1-502 shall provide an electronic list of all offenses in such case management system to the Department of State Police that were ordered to be automatically sealed pursuant to §§ 19.2-392.8 and 19.2-392.9.

B. Upon receipt of the electronic lists under subsection A, the Department of State Police shall proceed as set forth in § 19.2-392.13.

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

§ 19.2-392.11. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Automatic sealing of misdemeanor offenses resulting in acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal for persons with no convictions or deferred and dismissed offenses on their criminal history record.

A. On at least an annual basis, the Department of State Police shall review the Central Criminal Records Exchange and identify all persons with finalized misdemeanor case dispositions that resulted in (i) an acquittal, (ii) a nolle prosequi, or (iii) a dismissal, excluding any charge that was deferred and dismissed after a finding of facts sufficient to justify a finding of guilt, where the criminal history record of such person contains no convictions for any criminal offense for a violation of any law of the Commonwealth that requires a report to the Central Criminal Records Exchange under subsection A of § 19.2-390 and where such criminal history record contains no arrests or charges for a violation of any law of the Commonwealth that requires a report to the Central Criminal Records Exchange under subsection A of § 19.2-390 in the past three years, excluding traffic infractions under Title 46.2. For purposes of this subsection, any offense on the person's criminal history record that has previously been ordered to be sealed shall not be deemed a conviction.

B. Upon identification of the finalized case dispositions under subsection A, the Department of State Police shall provide an electronic list of such offenses to the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and to any circuit court clerk who maintains a case management system that interfaces with the Department of State Police under subsection B1 of § 17.1-502.

C. Upon receipt of the electronic list from the Department of State Police provided under subsection B, on at least an annual basis the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall provide an electronic list of such offenses to the clerk of each circuit court in the jurisdiction where the case was finalized, if such circuit court clerk participates in the case management system maintained by the Executive Secretary.

D. Upon receipt of the electronic list provided under subsection B or C, on at least an annual basis the clerk of each circuit court shall prepare an order and the chief judge of that circuit court shall enter such order directing that the offenses be automatically sealed under the process described in § 19.2-392.13. Such order shall contain the names of the persons charged with such offenses.

E. The clerk of each circuit court shall provide an electronic copy of any order entered under subsection D to the Department of State Police on at least an annual basis. Upon receipt of such order, the Department of State Police shall proceed as set forth in § 19.2-392.13.

F. 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.

G. This section shall not be construed as prohibiting a person from seeking expungement in the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.2. Entry of a sealing order pursuant to this section shall not prohibit a person from seeking expungement in the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.2.

H. 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.

I. If an offense is automatically sealed pursuant to the procedure set forth in this section and such offense was not ordered to be automatically sealed at the time of acquittal, nolle prosequi, or dismissal for one or more of the reasons set forth in § 19.2-392.8, the automatic sealing of such 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.

§ 19.2-392.12. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Sealing of offenses resulting in a deferred and dismissed disposition or conviction by petition.

A. Except for a conviction or deferral and dismissal of a violation of § 18.2-36.1, 18.2-36.2, 18.2-51.4, 18.2-51.5, 18.2-57.2, 18.2-266, or 46.2-341.24, a person who has been convicted of or had a charge deferred and dismissed for a (i) misdemeanor offense, (ii) Class 5 or 6 felony, or (iii) violation of § 18.2-95 or any other felony offense in which the defendant is deemed guilty of larceny and punished as provided in § 18.2-95 may file a petition setting forth the relevant facts and requesting sealing of the criminal history record information and court records relating to the charge or conviction, provided that such person has (a) never been convicted of a Class 1 or 2 felony or any other felony punishable by imprisonment for life, (b) not been convicted of a Class 3 or 4 felony within the past 20 years, or (c) not been convicted of any other felony within the past 10 years of his petition.

B. A person shall not be required to pay any fees or costs for filing a petition pursuant to this section if such person files a petition to proceed without the payment of fees and costs, and the court with which such person files his petition finds such person to be indigent pursuant to § 19.2-159.

C. The petition with a copy of the warrant, summons, or indictment, if reasonably available, shall be filed in the circuit court of the county or city in which the case was disposed of and shall contain, except when not reasonably available, the date of arrest, the name of the arresting agency, and the date of conviction. When this information is not reasonably available, the petition shall state the reason for such unavailability. The petition shall further state the charge or conviction to be sealed; the date of final disposition of the charge or conviction as set forth in the petition; the petitioner's date of birth, sex, race, and social security number, if available; and the full name used by the petitioner at the time of arrest or summons. A petitioner may only have two petitions granted pursuant to this section within his lifetime.

D. The Commonwealth shall be made party to the proceeding. The petitioner shall provide a copy of the petition by delivery or by first-class mail, postage prepaid, to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the city or county in which the petition is filed. The attorney for the Commonwealth may file an objection or answer to the petition or may give written notice to the court that he does not object to the petition within 21 days after it is delivered to him or received in the mail.

E. Upon receipt of the petition, the circuit court shall order that the attorney for the Commonwealth or a law-enforcement officer, as defined in § 9.1-101, provide the court with a sealed copy of the criminal history record of the petitioner. Upon completion of the hearing, the court shall cause the criminal history record to be destroyed unless, within 30 days of the date of the entry of the final order in the matter, the petitioner or the attorney for the Commonwealth notes an appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia.

F. After receiving the criminal history record of the petitioner, the court may conduct a hearing on the petition. The court shall enter an order requiring the sealing of the criminal history record information and court records, including electronic records, relating to the charge or conviction, only if the court finds that all criteria in subdivisions 1 through 4 are met, as follows:

1. During a period after the date of (i) dismissal of a deferred charge, (ii) conviction, or (iii) release from incarceration of the charge or conviction set forth in the petition, whichever date occurred later, the person has not been convicted of violating any law of the Commonwealth that requires a report to the Central Criminal Records Exchange under subsection A of § 19.2-390 or any other state, the District of Columbia, or the United States or any territory thereof, excluding traffic infractions under Title 46.2, for:

a. Seven years for any misdemeanor offense; or

b. Ten years for any felony offense;

2. If the records relating to the offense indicate that the occurrence leading to the deferral or conviction involved the use or dependence upon alcohol or any narcotic drug or any other self-administered intoxicant or drug of whatsoever nature, the petitioner has demonstrated his rehabilitation;

3. The petitioner has not previously obtained the sealing of two other deferrals or convictions arising out of different sentencing events; and

4. The continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the charge or conviction of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances that constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner.

G. If the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the petition is filed (i) gives written notice to the court pursuant to subsection D that he does not object to the petition and (ii) stipulates in such written notice that the petitioner is eligible to have such offense sealed, and the continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the charge or conviction of the petitioner causes or may cause circumstances that constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner, the court may enter an order of sealing without conducting a hearing.

H. Any party aggrieved by the decision of the court may appeal, as provided by law in civil cases.

I. Upon the entry of an order of sealing, the clerk of the court shall cause an electronic copy of such order to be forwarded to the Department of State Police. Such electronic order shall contain the petitioner's full name, date of birth, sex, race, and social security number, if available, as well as the petitioner's state identification number from the criminal history record, the court case number of the charge or conviction to be sealed, if available, and the document control number, if available. Upon receipt of such electronic order, the Department of State Police shall seal such records in accordance with § 19.2-392.13. When sealing such charge or conviction, the Department of State Police shall include a notation on the criminal history record that such offense was sealed pursuant to this section. The Department of State Police shall also electronically notify the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and any other agencies and individuals known to maintain or to have obtained such a record that such record has been ordered to be sealed and may only be disseminated in accordance with § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and the procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134.

J. Costs shall be as provided by § 17.1-275 but shall not be recoverable against the Commonwealth. Any costs collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Sealing Fee Fund created pursuant to § 17.1-205.1.

K. Any order entered where (i) the court or parties failed to strictly comply with the procedures set forth in this section or (ii) the court enters an order for the sealing of records contrary to law shall be voidable upon motion and notice made within two years of the entry of such order.

L. If a petitioner qualifies to file a petition for sealing of records without the payment of fees and costs pursuant to subsection B and has requested court-appointed counsel, the court shall then appoint counsel to file the petition for sealing of records and represent the petitioner in the sealed records proceedings. Counsel appointed to represent such a petitioner shall be compensated for his services subject to guidelines issued by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, in a total amount not to exceed $120, as determined by the court, and such compensation shall be paid from the Sealing Fee Fund as provided in § 17.1-205.1.

M. A petition filed under this section and any responsive pleadings filed by the attorney for the Commonwealth shall be maintained under seal by the clerk unless otherwise ordered by the court. 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.

N. A conviction or deferral and dismissal of § 18.2-36.1, 18.2-36.2, 18.2-51.4, 18.2-51.5, 18.2-57.2, 18.2-266, or 46.2-341.24 is ineligible for the sealing of records under this section.

O. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the circuit court from entering an order to seal a charge or conviction under this section when such charge or conviction is eligible for sealing under some other section of this chapter.

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

§ 19.2-392.13. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Disposition of records when an offense is sealed; permitted uses of sealed records.

A. Upon electronic notification that a court order for sealing has been entered pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12, the Department of State Police shall not disseminate any criminal history record information contained in the Central Criminal Records Exchange, including any records relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction, that was ordered to be sealed, except for purposes set forth in this section and pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134. Upon receipt of such electronic notification, the Department of State Police shall electronically notify those agencies and individuals known to maintain or to have obtained such a record that such record has been ordered to be sealed and may only be disseminated for purposes set forth in this section and pursuant to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134. Any records maintained electronically that are transformed or transferred by whatever means to an offline system or to a confidential and secure area inaccessible from normal use within the system in which the record is maintained shall be considered sealed, provided that such records are accessible only to the manager of the records or their designee.

B. Upon entry of a court order for sealing pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and any circuit court clerk who maintains a case management system that interfaces with the Department of State Police under subsection B1 of § 17.1-502 shall ensure that the court record of such arrest, charge, or conviction is not available for public online viewing as directed by subsections B and C of § 17.1-293.1. Additionally, upon entry of such an order for sealing, the clerk of court shall not disseminate any court record of such arrest, charge, or conviction, except as provided in subsections D and E.

C. Records relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction that was ordered to be sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12 shall not be open for public inspection or otherwise disclosed, provided that such records may be disseminated and used for the following purposes: (i) to make the determination as provided in § 18.2-308.2:2 of eligibility to possess or purchase a firearm; (ii) for fingerprint comparison utilizing the fingerprints maintained in the Automated Fingerprint Information System; (iii) to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission for its research purposes; (iv) to any full-time or part-time employee of the State Police or a police department or sheriff's office that is a part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof for the purpose of screening any person for full-time employment or part-time employment with, or to be a volunteer with, the State Police or a police department or sheriff's office that is a part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof; (v) to the State Health Commissioner or his designee for the purpose of screening any person who applies to be a volunteer with or an employee of an emergency medical services agency as provided in § 32.1-111.5; (vi) to any full-time or part-time employee of the Department of Forensic Science for the purpose of screening any person for full-time or part-time employment with the Department of Forensic Science; (vii) to the chief law-enforcement officer of a locality, or his designee who shall be an individual employed as a public safety official of the locality, that has adopted an ordinance in accordance with §§ 15.2-1503.1 and 19.2-389 for the purpose of screening any person who applies to be a volunteer with or an employee of an emergency medical services agency as provided in § 32.1-111.5; (viii) to any full-time or part-time employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles, any employer as defined in § 46.2-341.4, or any medical examiner as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 390.5 for the purpose of complying with the regulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; (ix) to any employer or prospective employer or its designee where federal law requires the employer to inquire about prior criminal charges or convictions; (x) to any employer or prospective employer or its designee where the position that a person is applying for, or where access to the premises in or upon which any part of the duties of such position is performed or is to be performed, is subject to any requirement imposed in the interest of the national security of the United States under any security program in effect pursuant to or administered under any contract with, or statute or regulation of, the United States or any Executive Order of the President; (xi) to any person authorized to engage in the collection of court costs, fines, or restitution under subsection C of § 19.2-349 for purposes of collecting such court costs, fines, or restitution; (xii) to administer and utilize the DNA Analysis and Data Bank set forth in Article 1.1 (§ 19.2-310.2 et seq.) of Chapter 18; (xiii) to publish decisions of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or any circuit court; (xiv) to any full-time or part-time employee of a court, the Office of the Executive Secretary, the Division of Legislative Services, or the Chairs of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for the purpose of screening any person for full-time or part-time employment as a clerk, magistrate, or judge with a court or the Office of the Executive Secretary; (xv) to any employer or prospective employer or its designee where this Code or a local ordinance requires the employer to inquire about prior criminal charges or convictions; (xvi) to any employer or prospective employer or its designee that is allowed access to such sealed records in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134; (xvii) to any business screening service for purposes of complying with § 19.2-392.16; (xviii) to any attorney for the Commonwealth and any person accused of a violation of law, or counsel for the accused, in order to comply with any constitutional and statutory duties to provide exculpatory, mitigating, and impeachment evidence to an accused; (xix) to any party in a criminal or civil proceeding for use as authorized by law in such proceeding; (xx) to any party for use in a protective order hearing as authorized by law; (xxi) to the Department of Social Services or any local department of social services for purposes of performing any statutory duties as required under Title 63.2; (xxii) to any party in a proceeding relating to the care and custody of a child for use as authorized by law in such proceeding; (xxiii) to the attorney for the Commonwealth and the court for purposes of determining eligibility for sealing pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-392.12; (xxiv) to determine a person's eligibility to be empaneled as a juror; and (xxv) to the person arrested, charged, or convicted of the offense that was sealed.

D. Upon request from any person to access a paper or a digital image of a court record, the clerk of court shall determine whether such record is open to public access and inspection. If the clerk of court determines that the court record has been sealed, such record shall not be provided to the requestor without an order from the court that entered the order to seal the court record. Any order from a court that allows access to a paper or a digital image of a court record that has been sealed shall only be issued for one or more of the purposes set forth in subsection C. Such order to access a paper or a digital image of a court record that has been sealed shall allow the requestor to photocopy such court record. No fee shall be charged to any person filing a motion to access a paper or a digital image of a court record that has been sealed if the person filing such motion is the same person who was arrested, charged, or convicted of the offense that was sealed.

E. No access shall be provided to electronic records in an appellate court, circuit court, or district court case management system maintained by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court or in a case management system maintained by a clerk of the circuit court for any arrest, charge, or conviction that was ordered to be sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12, except to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission for its research purposes. Such electronic records may be disseminated to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission without a court order.

F. If a pleading or case document in a court record that was sealed is included among other court records that have not been ordered to be sealed, the clerk of court shall not be required to prohibit dissemination of that record. The Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and any circuit court shall not be required to prohibit dissemination of any published or unpublished opinion relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction that was ordered to be sealed.

G. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not seal any conviction or any charge that was deferred and dismissed after a finding of facts sufficient to justify a finding of guilt (i) in violation of federal regulatory record retention requirements or (ii) in violation of federal program requirements if the Department of Motor Vehicles is required to suspend a person's driving privileges as a result of a conviction or deferral and dismissal ordered to be sealed. Upon receipt of an order directing that an offense be sealed, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall seal all records if the federal regulatory record retention period has run and all federal program requirements associated with a suspension have been satisfied. However, if the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot seal an offense pursuant to this subsection at the time it is ordered, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall (a) notify the Department of State Police of the reason the record cannot be sealed and cite the authority prohibiting sealing at the time it is ordered; (b) notify the Department of State Police of the date, if known at the time when the sealing is ordered, on which such record can be sealed; (c) seal such record on that date; and (d) notify the Department of State Police when such record has been sealed within the Department of Motor Vehicles' records.

H. No arrest, charge, or conviction that has been sealed may be used to impeach the credibility of a testifying witness at any hearing or trial unless (i) its probative value, supported by specific facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect and (ii) the proponent gives an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to use it so that the party has a fair opportunity to contest its use.

I. The provisions of this section shall not prohibit the disclosure of sealed criminal history record information or any information from such records among law-enforcement officers and attorneys when such disclosures are made by such officers or attorneys while engaged in the performance of their duties for purposes solely relating to the disclosure or use of exculpatory, mitigating, and impeachment evidence or between attorneys for the Commonwealth when related to the prosecution of a separate crime.

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

§ 19.2-392.14. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Disclosure of sealed records; penalty.

A. It is unlawful for any person having or acquiring access to sealed criminal history record information or a court record, including any records relating to an arrest, charge, or conviction, that was ordered to be sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.8, 19.2-392.9, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12, to disclose such record or any information from such record to another person, except in accordance with the purposes set forth in § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and the procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134.

B. A clerk of court shall not be in violation of this section if such clerk informs a person requesting access to a sealed court record that such court record has been sealed and can only be accessed pursuant to a court order.

C. Any person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any person who maliciously and intentionally violates this section is guilty of a Class 6 felony.

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

§ 19.2-392.15. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Prohibited practices by employers, educational institutions, agencies, etc., of state and local governments; penalty.

A. Except as provided in subsection B, agencies, officials, and employees of state and local governments, private employers that are not subject to federal laws or regulations in the hiring process, and educational institutions shall not, in any application, interview, or otherwise, require an applicant for employment or admission to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction, include a reference to or information concerning arrests, charges, or convictions that has been sealed.

B. The provisions of subsection A shall not apply if:

1. The person is applying for full-time employment or part-time employment with, or to be a volunteer with, the State Police or a police department or sheriff's office that is a part of or administered by the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof;

2. This Code requires the employer to make such an inquiry;

3. Federal law requires the employer to make such an inquiry;

4. The position, or access to the premises in or upon which any part of the duties of such position is performed or is to be performed, is subject to any requirement imposed in the interest of the national security of the United States under any security program in effect pursuant to or administered under any contract with, or statute or regulation of, the United States or any Executive Order of the President; or

5. The rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134 allow the employer to access such sealed records.

C. Agencies, officials, and employees of state and local governments shall not, in any application, interview, or otherwise, require an applicant for a license, permit, registration, or governmental service to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction, include a reference to or information concerning arrests, charges, or convictions that has been sealed. Such an application may not be denied solely because of the applicant's refusal to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed.

D. No person, as defined in § 36-96.1:1, shall, in any application for the sale or rental of a dwelling, as defined in § 36-96.1:1, require an applicant to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction, include a reference to or information concerning arrests, charges, or convictions that has been sealed. Such an application may not be denied solely because of the applicant's refusal to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed.

E. No insurance company, as defined in § 38.2-100, shall, in any application for insurance, as defined in § 38.2-100, require an applicant to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed. An applicant need not, in answer to any question concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction, include a reference to or information concerning arrests, charges, or convictions that has been sealed. Such an application may not be denied solely because of the applicant's refusal to disclose information concerning any arrest, charge, or conviction against him that has been sealed.

F. If any entity or person listed under subsections A, C, D, or E includes a question about a prior arrest, charge, or conviction in an application for one or more of the purposes set forth in such subsections, such application shall include, or such entity or person shall provide, a notice to the applicant that information concerning an arrest, charge, or conviction that has been sealed does not have to be disclosed in the application. Such notice need not be included on any application for one or more of the purposes set forth in subsection B.

G. A person who willfully violates this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor for each violation.

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

§ 19.2-392.16. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Dissemination of criminal history records and traffic history records by business screening services.

A. For the purposes of this section:

"Business screening service" means a person engaged in the business of collecting, assembling, evaluating, or disseminating Virginia criminal history records or traffic history records on individuals.

"Business screening service" does not include any government entity or the news media.

"Criminal history record" means any information collected by a business screening service on individuals containing any personal identifying information, photograph, or other identifiable descriptions pertaining to an individual and any information regarding arrests, detentions, indictments, or other formal criminal charges, and any disposition arising therefrom, including acquittal, sentencing, correctional supervision, or release.

"Delete" means that a criminal history record shall not be disseminated in any manner, except to any entity authorized to receive and use such information pursuant to § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and the procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134, but may be retained in order to resolve any disputes relating to this section, the accuracy of the record consistent with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq.

"Sealed record" means a Virginia criminal history record or a traffic history record that has been sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.10, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12.

"Traffic history record" means any information collected by a business screening service on individuals containing any personal identifying information, photograph, or other identifiable descriptions pertaining to an individual and any information regarding arrests, detentions, indictments, or other formal traffic infraction charges, and any disposition arising therefrom.

B. If a business screening service knows that a criminal history record or a traffic history record has been sealed, the business screening service shall promptly delete the record.

C. A business screening service shall register with the Department of State Police to electronically receive copies of orders of sealing provided to the Department of State Police pursuant to §§ 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.10, 19.2-392.11, and 19.2-392.12. The Department of State Police may charge an annual licensing fee to the business screening service for accessing such information, with a portion of such fee to be used to cover the cost of providing such records and the remainder of such fee to be deposited into the Sealing Fee Fund pursuant to § 17.1-205.1. The contract between the Department of State Police and the business screening service shall prohibit dissemination of the orders of sealing and shall require compliance by the business screening service with the provisions of subsections D, E, and F. The orders of sealing received by the business screening service shall remain confidential and shall not be disseminated or resold. The orders of sealing shall be used for the sole purpose of deleting criminal history records that have been sealed. The business screening service shall destroy the copies of the orders of sealing after deleting the information contained in such orders from sealed records. The Department of State Police shall require that the business screening service seeking access to the information identify themselves, certify the purposes for which the information is sought, and certify that the information will be used for no other purpose. The Department of State Police shall further require that a business screening service acknowledge receipt of all electronic copies of orders of sealing provided by the Department of State Police. The Department of State Police shall maintain a public list within its website identifying the business screening services that are licensed to receive such records.

D. A business screening service that disseminates a criminal history record or a traffic history record on or after the effective date of this section shall include the date when the record was collected by the business screening service and a notice that the information may include records that have been sealed since that date.

E. A business screening service shall implement and follow reasonable procedures to assure that it does not maintain or sell criminal history records or traffic history records that are inaccurate or incomplete. If the completeness or accuracy of a criminal history record or traffic history record maintained by a business screening service is disputed by the individual who is the subject of the record, the business screening service shall, without charge, investigate the disputed record. If, upon investigation, the business screening service determines that the record does not accurately reflect the content of the official record, the business screening service shall correct the disputed record so as to accurately reflect the content of the official record. If the disputed record is found to have been sealed pursuant to § 19.2-392.7, 19.2-392.10, 19.2-392.11, or 19.2-392.12, the business screening service shall promptly delete the record. A business screening service may terminate an investigation of a disputed record if the business screening service reasonably determines that the dispute is frivolous, which may be based on the failure of the subject of the record to provide sufficient information to investigate the disputed record. Upon making a determination that the dispute is frivolous, the business screening service shall inform the subject of the record of the specific reasons why it has determined that the dispute is frivolous and shall provide a description of any information required to investigate the disputed record. The business screening service shall notify the subject of the disputed record of the correction or deletion of the record or of the termination or completion of the investigation related to the record within 30 days of the date when the business screening service receives notice of the dispute from the subject of the record.

F. A business screening service shall implement procedures for individuals to submit a request to obtain their own criminal history record and traffic history record information maintained by the business screening service and any other information that may be sold to another entity by the business screening service regarding the individual.

G. A business screening service that violates this section is liable to the person who is the subject of the criminal history record or traffic history record for a penalty of $1,000 or actual damages caused by the violation, whichever is greater, plus costs and reasonable attorney fees. Within 10 days of service of any suit by an individual, the business screening service may make a cure offer in writing to the individual claiming to have suffered a loss as a result of a violation of this section. Such offer shall be in writing and include one or more things of value, including the payment of money. A cure offer shall be reasonably calculated to remedy a loss claimed by the individual, as well as any attorney fees or other fees, expenses, or other costs of any kind that such individual may incur in relation to such loss. No cure offer shall be admissible in any proceeding initiated under this section, unless the cure offer is delivered by the business screening service to the individual claiming loss or to any attorney representing such individual prior to the filing of the business screening service's initial responsive pleading in such proceeding. The business screening service shall not be liable for such individual's attorney fees and court costs incurred following delivery of the cure offer unless the actual damages found to have been sustained and awarded, without consideration of attorney fees and court costs, exceed the value of the cure offer.

H. The Attorney General may file a civil action to enforce this section. If the court finds that a business screening service has willfully engaged in an act or practice in violation of this section, the Attorney General may recover for the Literary Fund, upon petition to the court, a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 per violation. For the purposes of this section, prima facie evidence of a willful violation may be shown when the Attorney General notifies the alleged violator by certified mail that an act or practice is a violation of this section and the alleged violator, after receipt of said notice, continues to engage in the act or practice. In any civil action pursuant to this subsection, in addition to any civil penalty awarded, the Attorney General may also recover any costs and reasonable expenses incurred by the state in investigating and preparing the case, not to exceed $1,000 per violation, and attorney fees. Such additional costs and expenses shall be paid into the general fund of the Commonwealth.

I. A business screening service that disseminates criminal history records or traffic history records in the Commonwealth is deemed to have consented to service of process in the Commonwealth and to the jurisdiction of courts of the Commonwealth for actions involving a violation of this section or for the recovery of remedies under this section.

J. A business screening service that is a consumer reporting agency and that is in compliance with the applicable provisions of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., or the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, 15 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq., is considered to be in compliance with the comparable provisions of this section. A business screening service is subject to the state remedies under this section if its actions would violate this section and federal law.

K. Any business screening service or person who engages in the conduct of a business screening service, as set forth this this section, that fails to register with the Department of State Police as required by subsection C and that disseminates criminal history records or traffic history records in the Commonwealth may be subject to (i) suit by any person injured by such dissemination and (ii) enforcement actions by the Attorney General as set forth in subsection H.

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

§ 19.2-392.17. (For contingent effective date see Acts 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 524 and 542) Traffic infractions deemed sealed.

A. Any record of a traffic infraction under Title 46.2 that is not punishable as a criminal offense shall be deemed to be sealed after 11 years from the date of final disposition of the offense, unless such sealing is prohibited under federal or state law. No record of any such traffic infraction shall be disseminated, unless such dissemination is authorized pursuant to § 19.2-392.13 and pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to § 9.1-128 and the procedures adopted pursuant to § 9.1-134.

B. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not seal any traffic infraction under Title 46.2 (i) in violation of federal regulatory record retention requirements or (ii) in violation of federal program requirements if the Department of Motor Vehicles is required to suspend a person's driving privileges as a result of the traffic infraction that was ordered to be sealed. Upon receipt of an order directing that a traffic infraction be sealed, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall seal all records if the federal regulatory record retention period has run and all federal program requirements associated with a suspension have been satisfied. However, if the Department of Motor Vehicles cannot seal a traffic infraction pursuant to this subsection at the time it is ordered, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall (a) notify the Department of State Police of the reason the record cannot be sealed and cite the authority prohibiting sealing at the time it is ordered; (b) notify the Department of State Police of the date, if known at the time when the sealing is ordered, on which such record can be sealed; (c) seal such record on that date; and (d) notify the Department of State Police when such record has been sealed within the Department of Motor Vehicles' records.

C. The Department of Motor Vehicles shall not seal a record of a traffic infraction if a customer is subject to an administrative suspension order issued pursuant to Driver Improvement Program requirements under § 46.2-498, 46.2-499, or 46.2-506, issued in part or in whole, as a result of an accumulation of traffic infractions, and less than two years has passed since the date that the suspension order was complied with.

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