My son lives in North Carolina and was issued an arrest warrant in Virginia in 2018 for possession of marijuana with

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Customer: Hi. My son lives in North Carolina and was issued an arrest warrant in Virginia in 2018 for possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Concord, NC police arrested him to extradite him in November of 2019. He used a public defender in VA, who continued the case several months and at the end told him to take the plea with $25 penalty and that he would not have a criminal record. He took the plea, but his record now does indeed show criminal record. He adamantly claims that the bag containing the marijuana was not his and now he can't get into a college or have a regular job because of his criminal record. Is it possible to expunge his criminal record? What does he need to do? He will be 22 yrs old on Nov 30.
Answered by ErnestI810 in 2 mins 1 year ago
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ErnestI810
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ErnestI810, Expert

Hi. Thank you for using Just Answer! My name is*****'ve been an attorney for over 30 years. I can answer your question!
First, let me say that I understand that legal issues can be perplexing.  Often, they are emotional, as well.  Despite that, I am here to help. To make sure I give you the best information I can, I want to be sure I understand your question.
Please let me know if there are any additional details before I answer.
As I understand your question:  Your son's lawyer misrepresented the consequences of pleading guilty.  He said you son would not have a criminal record for a marijuana charge, but that was incorrect. You want to know if the record can be expunged.
Is that correct? Let me know.

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ErnestI810, Expert

Are you ready to get started?
Be assured I will guide you through the process and answer your question.

Customer
Hi
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ErnestI810, Expert

While I wait for you to respond, let me say this - If your son pled guilty, it is too late for him to argue he is not guilty.  He admitted the offense under oath in open court.  So, he is going to have to live with that.

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ErnestI810, Expert

He can get an expungement, but the rules are complicated.  Here they are:

Beginning on July 1, 2021, several new categories of offenses are eligible to be sealed from public view or background checks.  Under Virginia's new expungement laws, you can petition to “seal” low-grade felony convictions (class 5 or 6), misdemeanor convictions, and dismissals pursuant to a deferral in a first-offender program, e.g., a first-time marijuana charge.  You may also petition to seal convictions for grand larceny (including those offenses punishable as grand larceny), which is an unclassified offense.  To be eligible to petition to seal a conviction, you must meet the following requirements:

(1)  You have never been convicted of a class 1 or class 2 felony;

(2)  You have not been convicted of a class 3 or class 4 felony in the last 20 years; and

(3)  You have not been convicted of any other felony within the past 10 years.

Finally, you may only petition to seal convictions, or dismissals pursuant deferral, a total of twice in your lifetime.  If you previously had two petitions granted under the new expungement laws, you are not eligible.  To grant your petition to seal a conviction or dismissal pursuant to deferral, the Court will have to make the following findings in your case:

(1)  For a misdemeanor offense, you have had no convictions in Virginia or any state or territory for seven (7) years, or for a felony offense, you have had no such convictions for ten (10) years;

(2)  If your conviction involved drugs or alcohol, you must demonstrate rehabilitation;

(3)  You have not previously been granted the sealing of two convictions or dismissals pursuant to deferral; and

(4)  The continued existence and possible dissemination of information relating to the charge or conviction causes or may cause circumstances that constitute a manifest injustice to the petitioner.

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ErnestI810, Expert

Now based on the $25 fine, I am confident your son's conviction is for the most minor offense possible.

He should be able to get an expungement of his record.

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ErnestI810, Expert

Do you understand my answer? Do you need clarification or more information?
Let me know; I'm here to help, and we can continue chatting.
Please note - it would be helpful for you to consult a local attorney. You will find having a professional assist you will help tremendously. If you can't afford an attorney, get a free consultation. The free information you receive from a local attorney will make things easier for you.
Also, when you use Just Answer you always have the option to request a live phone conference with me. Talking can be very helpful.

Customer
He told his lawyer he was not guilty all along, He was misled
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ErnestI810, Expert

I understand he was misled.  But, he admitted the charge under oath in court.  If he goes t court and says he lied on the advice of his lawyer, he will not succeed in getting the conviction reversed. The lawyer will say your son told him he was guilty and that the lawyer worked out the best plea bargain possible.

The judge will believe the lawyer. and not your son.

Given that, an expungement is the best solution.

Customer
He has never had any other criminal record
Customer
Where do we start? Can he or I do it?
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ErnestI810, Expert

I know.  He is completely eligible for an expungement.  no prior record is one of the rules.

Please contact an expungement lawyer in Virginia in the county where this all happened.  An expungement is not complicated and it should not cost very much.

Your son can do it without an attorney, but it would be well worth the money to have professional assistance and to just get this problem taken care of.

Your son can out it behind him, finish his education and get a good job.

Those things are worth a fortune.

Customer
Thank you
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ErnestI810, Expert

You're very welcome.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything else. Feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.  I am happy to continue the chat.
Also, I want to thank you so much for using Just Answers and allowing me to be your expert.
I will still be online to answer any follow up questions you have.
Please note: It is always helpful to consult a local attorney. He or she will know the law in your jurisdiction and the ins and outs of your court system and can help tremendously.
Let me know how it turns out!!!

Customer
Thanks again. I passed on your words to my son. We will look into finding a lawyer in that town in VA
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ErnestI810, Expert

Great! Good luck!!

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