If you have ever been arrested in West Virginia, you know how important it is to understand who may have access to any records pertaining to this event. Even if you were never convicted and charges against you were dropped, it would be nice to know that the experience is not something that will come up and haunt you later on, such as during a job search. Many people are able to seek a formal expungement of their criminal records but that is something that might be more complicated today than a couple of decades ago.
As explained by Slate, one problem defendants experience today is that the internet may have records showing mug shots or providing other details about an arrest posted in multiple locations. These may be obtained in various ways and an official expungement is not able to eliminate all of them. In fact, attempting to force this to happen may actually violate the provisions of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Efforts are underway by an advocacy group to promote an overhaul of the expungement process but some have pushed that this should also include a review of what and how data is shared from the beginning. Only when the dissemination of information is controlled can the elimination of it be properly managed.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people in West Virginia an idea of the questions they may want to ask an attorney when pursuing an expungement of a previous criminal arrest or conviction.