On June 7, 2019, several new statutes went into effect that amount to a sweeping change of the expungement laws in West Virginia. The new statutes now permit the expungement of certain felony convictions. They also relaxed the standards for having misdemeanors expunged.

A person convicted of a nonviolent felony may now petition the circuit court in which the conviction occurred for expungement of the conviction and the records associated with that conviction. Multiple nonviolent felony convictions may also be expunged if the convictions arose from the same transaction of events. However, the person must wait until at least five (5) years have passed since the completion of any sentence or probation before the petition for expungement of a felony can be filed.

Also, expungement of misdemeanor convictions is no longer limited to just people who are convicted of misdemeanors between the ages of 18 and 26. Qualifying misdemeanors can now be expunged for persons who committed the misdemeanor at any age. Additionally, multiple misdemeanors occurring in the same county or several counties are now potentially eligible for expungement. A person must wait at least two (2) years since the completion of any sentence or probation before the petition for expungement of a misdemeanor can be filed.

One other interesting change is that if someone has previously received a criminal offense reduction, in which a Court had changed a felony conviction to a conviction called a "reduced misdemeanor", that person could now have his or her "reduced misdemeanor" conviction fully expunged.

The filing of an expungement petition can sometimes prove to be tricky. Law requires numerous topics to be addressed within the petition. The law also requires that it be filed and served upon various persons and agencies. An attorney can help ensure that your expungement petition is prepared properly and filed and served correctly.

One should be aware that, in many instances, expungements are not automatically granted. There are times when either the arresting police department or the prosecutor objects to the granting of an expungement. If that happens, the Court may set a hearing and you will need to be prepared to argue the case before a Judge. An attorney can represent you at such a hearing against any objecting party.

If you have any convictions in your past that you are interested in having expunged from your criminal record, please call the Law Office of P. Zachary Stewart at 304-914-3577 to find out whether you may be eligible for an expungement under this new law and if we may be able to help you.

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