Under Virginia law, the most common way to get a criminal record expunged is if the defendant was found not guilty. In other words, there was a trial, and the evidence was insufficient to support a conviction.

When a defendant is found not guilty at trial, they have the added benefit of returning to court to seek expungement of their criminal record.

There are many benefits to expungement, including wiping a criminal record clean so that the dismissed charge does not show up on a background check for a job or school.

But what if the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity?

The Supreme Court of Virginia addressed whether a person who is found not guilty by reason of insanity at trial can later obtain expungement of the underlying charge and clean up their criminal record.

In Eastlack v. Commonwealth, 282 Va. 120 (2011), the petitioner was acquitted of a crime by reason of insanity. After the charge was dismissed, he later sought expungement of the charge to clean up his criminal record. The Supreme Court of Virginia denied his petition, stating that expungement of police records and court records – while normally allowed if a person was found not guilty – was not permitted if the person had asserted an insanity defense in order to prevail at trial.

Do You Qualify for Expungement?

If you need help cleaning up your criminal record by seeking expungement of the police records and court records, contact a Virginia expungement lawyer for a free consultation.