It may be difficult to fully comprehend the long-term consequences of a criminal arrest the moment you are facing one in Ohio County. Yet several years removed from an incident, you may still feel the stigma of the consequences that arose from it. Should the fact that you were arrested for a crime continue to hang over your head forever. The state of West Virgnia does not think so, which is why it has offered a way for certain arrests to be expunged from your record.
The guidelines detailing expungement in the state can be found in Section 61-11-26 of West Virginia's Code. First and foremost, it should be understood that arrests for certain offenses cannot be erased from your criminal record. These include:
- Driving without a license
- Domestic violence
- Sex offenses against minors under the age of 12
- Assaults resulting in serious bodily injury
- Select animal cruelty offenses
You also cannot qualify for expungement if you already have a felony conviction on your record. The same is true if you plead guilty on one offense in exchange for having another dropped.
If you have a juvenile conviction in your past, you should know that your juvenile record is automatically sealed one year after you turn 18 or from the time the juvenile court jurisdiction has expired. For eligible misdemeanors committed when you were between the ages of 18-26, you can only have them expunged if you have no prior convictions and no charges pending against you (you must also wait between six month to one year after serving your sentence to apply). After the age of 26, you can only have arrests expunged from your records, and even then only if you were acquitted or not charged at all.