Certain arrest records related to any case in the General District Court are publicly available, although not to the extent that someone could simply type a name into a search engine and find them readily. With that said, if someone knows where to look, they can likely find desired information on traffic or criminal court dates in the Loudoun County General District Court, or any other General District Court throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. For this reason, if a person truly wishes to have their arrest record taken out of public view after they have been formally charged with a DUI, they should consult with a lawyer in Loudoun County to discuss whether they are eligible to have their record sealed or expunged.
One consequence of having a public arrest record is that a person may receive advertising mail from attorneys. Their neighbors may also be able to check their name within this database to see if they have upcoming court dates. Their employer may likewise be able to find out that they have been charged with traffic or criminal offense. With that said, in reality, publicly available arrest records do not typically have a crippling influence on an individual’s day-to-day life.
If someone is acquitted or otherwise dismissed after being charged with a criminal offense in Virginia, their arrest record will still be public unless they choose to go through the expungement process. The arrest record will state that they were found not guilty, or the case was acquitted or otherwise dismissed. The expungement refers to the arrest, not the results of the trial.
The only way an arrest record can be dealt with is if a person’s hearing or case is dismissed or otherwise eligible for expungement. In Virginia, records of arrests are not eligible for expungement or deletion if the subject is found guilty of the offense or of a lesser included offense, or if they are dismissed under certain circumstances that make them ineligible for expungement. The expungement statute in Virginia is very specific and only applies to certain offenses and circumstances.
In addition, a record may only be sealed if it contains certain sensitive information that would make it eligible for the record to be placed under seal. This is very rare, and almost never occurs for DUI cases. However, someone may be able to expunge their record if they are found not guilty or the case is otherwise dismissed.
The records are physically kept at the clerk’s office of the local jurisdiction in which someone is charged. A copy of the records, depending on the nature of the offense and nature of the arrest, may also be preserved at the local sheriff’s office and through the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN). Also, the nature of the offense and nature of the arrest may be recorded in some new databases such as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The online record is kept on a website that is maintained by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Patrick Woolley Attorney At Law