DUI Arrest Records in Virginia
Having an arrest record in Virginia does not necessarily mean that it will remain private. Certain parts of the record will be available to the general public. This includes being listed within the court system for name and court date searches, as well as having a copy of their records in the courthouse as a public record. This could impact a person’s ability to be hired for certain jobs or positions, as many are contingent upon having no criminal record. This could even include a misdemeanor, such as a DUI.
If you have been arrested in Virginia and are seeking to expunge or seal your arrest record, consulting with an experienced Virginia DUI attorney is one of the first steps you should take. They understand the laws surrounding both the charge and the process for sealing or expunging a record, and will be able to inform you on the steps that need to be taken and whether a certain course of action is possible.
Are Arrest Records Available to the Public in Virginia?
If an individual has been arrested for a crime in Virginia, certain parts of a person’s arrest records will be public information. The General District Court, as part of the Virginia Supreme Court system, maintains a public web presence for searching names, court dates, and limited offense information. Likewise, if someone travels to the courthouse, they could ask to review a copy of any adult’s records, as these are public records.
Consequences of a Public Arrest Record
The consequences of having a public arrest record, whether it’s for a DUI or some other charge, are going to depend on the individual’s circumstances. For some individuals, there is no consequence other than the fact that the arrest record exists. For others, it may inhibit the ability to gain certain employment opportunities. Certainly, an arrest record is not the same as a conviction record. There are different consequences associated with each, and a Virginia DUI lawyer will be able to explain to you which consequences you might be facing depending on the type of record.
Unless an individual has access to the information at the local jail, typically mug shots are not available. FOIA requests are the easiest way to receive mug shots and they are most commonly obtained by media outlets.
Options for Dealing with a Virginia DUI Arrest Record
If an individual has an arrest record, there is not a really good answer to how to “deal with it.” If the matter ends up being subject to a dismissal, that individual may seek to expunge the record of the arrest. That procedure is done through a petition by your Virginia DUI attorney in the circuit court in the local jurisdiction.
- Sealed Records: usually, this happens if it contains sensitive information that could be used for a nefarious public purpose or sensitive information about a victim or other statutorily prohibited information.
- Expungement: this refers to deletion of the arrest record from the Virginia State Police database as well as local and national criminal databases.
Is there Still an Arrest Record if the DUI was Acquitted?
Until an individual seeks to expunge the records of the arrest through the circuit court, there will be an arrest record even if the matter is dismissed. The arrest and court procedure and outcome of that procedure are two different things. Someone can have an arrest record that shows that the person was arrested and the charge was later dismissed.
That is the very basis of the US Constitution—innocent until proven guilty. The arrest record shows that the individual was charged with the offense and, if dismissed, the charge says that the individual was not convicted of a DUI. That will exist until an individual takes the right steps to have that arrest record expunged.