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Virginia Criminal Records

Virginia Criminal Records refer to official documents that contain information on a person's criminal history within the state. These records, sometimes called rap sheets, include comprehensive criminal information from Virginia's criminal justice institutions, including courts and correctional facilities.

These documents are essential for employment background checks, tenant screening, and other background investigations. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and other government organizations also use these records for legal and investigative purposes.

A criminal record in Virginia may contain various information depending on the specific case. Some of the types of information that you can typically find in these records are as follows:

  • Personal information such as the individual's full name, date of birth, gender, race, known aliases, mugshot, fingerprints, and other identifying information
  • Information about the arrest, including the date, time, place, and reason
  • A list of the criminal charges filed against the individual
  • Details on the individual's court appearances, including the date, time, location, and outcome
  • Sentencing information such as the sentence imposed on the individual, including the length of any jail or prison sentence, probation requirements, fines, and other penalties
  • Disposition information, whether the charges were dismissed, the individual was found not guilty, or the individual pled guilty or convicted
  • Other information, such as any prior criminal history, outstanding warrants, and additional related information

Under the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), most criminal records are public information, meaning anyone can request access.

It is important to note that while criminal records in Virginia are open to the public, there are still restrictions on how they can be used. For example, employers must follow specific guidelines when conducting background checks and making employment decisions based on an individual's criminal history.

What Are the Types of Crimes in Virginia?

There are several types of crimes in Virginia, such as violent crimes, sexual offenses, drug crimes, property crimes, and more. Under Virginia Criminal Records, offenses under these crime types are classified based on their nature, severity level, and impact.

Below are the major types of crimes in Virginia based on severity:


In Virginia, a felony is a serious criminal offense punishable by imprisonment for more than a year in a state correctional facility, a fine of more than $2,500, or both. Virginia has six classes of felonies, ranging from Class 6 (the least serious) to Class 1 (the most serious).

Class 1 Felonies

In Virginia, Class 1 felonies are the most severe crimes. If someone has a murder record In Virginia, they must serve life in prison without the possibility of parole, pay up to a $100,000 fine, or both.

Class 2 Felonies

If you have a Class 2  felony record in Virginia, you must serve 20 years in prison, pay up to a $100,000 fine, or both. Some examples of Class 2 felonies are as follows:

  • Committing an act of terrorism
  • Aggravated malicious wounding
  • Kidnapping for ransom
  • Burglary with a deadly weapon
  • Armed bank robbery

Class 3 Felonies

Class 3 felonies could lead to a fine of up to $100,000, 5 to 20 years in prison, or both. Below are the types of crimes that fall under this category:

  • Sex trafficking with children
  • Shooting or stabbing a person
  • Giving material support to terrorists
  • Attempting to poison someone
  • Burglary

Class 4 Felonies

For this felony, you could get a $100,000 fine, 2 to 10 years in prison, or both. The following are Class 4 felonies in Virginia:

  • Child abuse
  • Possession of a sawed-off shotgun
  • Forgery
  • Human trafficking
  • Car shooting
  • Bigamy
  • Arson of an unoccupied building
  • Forging public records

Class 5 Felonies

In Virginia Criminal Records, this crime could be either a felony or a misdemeanor. It is called a "wobbler." If you are found guilty of this felony, you will spend ten years in prison, pay a fine of up to $2,500, or both. The following are Class 5 felonies in Virginia:

  • Having a weapon at a riot
  • Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
  • Extortion
  • Computer fraud valued at $500 or more
  • Credit card forgery
  • Soliciting prostitution of a minor under 16

Class 6 Felonies

This type of felony is also called a "wobbler," You could face 1–5 years in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both. This category includes the following crimes:

  • HIV-infected blood donation
  • Soliciting prostitution of a minor
  • Willfully shooting a gun in public
  • Multiple domestic violence
  • Third-offense driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Credit card fraud of $500 or more
  • Strangulation


Misdemeanors are less severe than felonies, although a misdemeanor punishment may include fines and jail time. The penalties for these crimes range from no jail time to a maximum of one year. Typically, misdemeanor sentencing is served in county jail rather than state prison.

Misdemeanors are categorized for sentencing reasons. Below are the four classes of misdemeanors in Virginia in order of the severity of the penalty.

Class 1 Misdemeanors

You could get a $2,500 fine, a year in jail, or both for this misdemeanor. Below are the most common crimes in this group:

  • Domestic violence
  • Assault and battery
  • Petit larceny
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

Class 2 Misdemeanors

Those who have the following convictions will get a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both:

  • Driving without a license
  • Possession of a schedule IV controlled substance
  • Second custody or visitation order violation
  • Displaying a fictitious vehicle permit

Class 3 Misdemeanors

There is no jail time for Class 3 misdemeanors in Virginia. But if you are convicted of any of the following misdemeanors, you could get a fine of up to $500:

  • Driving without car insurance
  • Willful misconduct by a notary
  • Using reflective window tinting
  • Possession of a schedule V controlled substance

Class 4 Misdemeanors

Class 4 misdemeanors don't also lead to jail time. But if you have any of the following conviction records, you will pay a fine of up to $250:

  • Drinking while operating a motor vehicle
  • Public intoxication
  • Trespassing on railroad tracks
  • Possession of a schedule VI controlled substance

How Does Probation Work in Virginia?

Probation in Virginia is a form of criminal punishment that allows a convicted offender to remain in the community, subject to certain conditions, rather than being sent to jail or prison. A judge typically imposes probation as part of a sentence after an offender has been found guilty of a crime.

Under 2021 Virginia probation law, probation is a period of supervision and monitoring lasting up to five years. Typically, one year for misdemeanors and five years for felonies.

During this time, the offender must comply with the court's specific conditions.

After completing probation, the offender may petition the Secretary of the Commonwealth for clemency, pardon, or the restoration of their civil rights (such as voting).

Technical Probation Violations in Virginia

In Virginia, technical probation violations refer to violations of the conditions of probation that do not involve the commission of a new crime. As per Virginia Code (VC) section 19.2-306.1, these violations may include a probationer's failure to:

  • Submit arrests and traffic citations to their probation officer within three days.
  • Report to their probation officer three days after prison release.
  • Continue employment or inform the probation officer of work changes.
  • Obtain authorization to relocate or stay in Virginia or other approved places without their probation officer's consent.
  • Avoid drinking if it disturbs work or creates a disturbance.
  • Let the probation officer visit their house or workplace.
  • Resist using, possessing, or distributing drugs or drug paraphernalia.
  • Stay away from guns and firearms.
  • Keep in touch with their probation officer if their whereabouts are unclear.
  • Be honest and cooperative, and report to the probation officer.

If an offender commits a technical probation violation, the officer may file a report with the court and recommend that the court impose additional conditions or sanctions. The court will then hold a hearing to determine whether a violation has occurred and what the consequences should be.

The consequences of a technical probation violation can vary depending on the case's specific circumstances and the judge's discretion. Possible outcomes may include additional conditions of probation, community service, or a brief period of incarceration.

How Does Parole Work in Virginia?

A parole in Virginia is a conditional release from a correctional facility granted by the Virginia Parole Board (VPB). It allows an eligible inmate to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community under supervision, subject to certain conditions and restrictions.

It also forces offenders to complete at least 85% of their sentences and earn good-time credits toward early release.

In Virginia, parole eligibility depends on the date of the offense committed and the type of offense. Inmates convicted of certain crimes, such as capital murder, are not eligible for parole. Additionally, Virginia eliminated discretionary parole for felonies committed after January 1, 1995, and misdemeanors committed after July 1, 2008.

If inmates are eligible for parole, they can apply for parole consideration to the VPB. The Board will consider a range of factors, such as the inmate's criminal history, institutional behavior, and risk to public safety, before making a decision.

If parole is granted, the inmate will be released from the correctional facility and supervised by a parole officer in the community.

Under VC section 53.1-159, parolees must spend at least six months under supervision or any other time the Board considers appropriate.

Once completed without violating any parole condition or restriction, like probation, the offender may request the Secretary of the Commonwealth for clemency, pardon, or the restoration of their civil rights.

Standard Conditions and Restrictions of Parole in Virginia

The specific conditions and restrictions of Parole in Virginia can vary depending on the individual case and the recommendations of the VPB, but some common examples include the following:

  • Meeting regularly with a parole officer and cooperating with their supervision
  • Abiding by all federal, state, and local laws and ordinances
  • Paying the monthly supervision fee
  • Refraining from possessing any firearms or other dangerous weapons
  • Avoiding taking drugs or alcohol or accessing establishments where they are sold or consumed
  • Maintaining employment or actively seeking employment
  • Staying within a designated geographical area or obtaining permission before leaving the area
  • Reporting any arrests to the parole officer
  • Attending counseling or treatment programs as directed by the parole officer
  • Complying with any other conditions or restrictions imposed by the VPB

If a person violates their parole conditions or restrictions, they may face the consequences such as revocation and a return to prison.

How Does Expungement Work in Virginia?

Expungement in the state is the legal process of erasing or sealing Virginia Criminal Records from public records. When a criminal record is deleted, it is no longer visible to employers, landlords, and other general members who might conduct a background check.

In Virginia, there are specific rules for expungement. Only certain charges are eligible for expungement, including those dismissed, not prosecuted, and for which the defendant was found not guilty.

But in 2021, the General Assembly of Virginia established a new expungement statute. The law, effective in 2025, makes expungement automatic and expands eligibility to include certain criminal convictions.

Some of the misdemeanors eligible for automatic sealing under the 2021 expungement law in Virginia are as follows:

  • Marijuana possession
  • Concealment
  • Instigating trespass by others
  • Trespass on posted property
  • Trespass after having been forbidden
  • Petit larceny
  • Underage alcohol possession
  • Disorderly conduct

If you have no conviction and arrest records in Virginia in three years, the court will automatically remove the misdemeanor record.

Furthermore, after the required waiting period and compliance with specific conditions, you can seal felonies under Classes 5 and 6 and larceny felonies after July 1, 2025.

In most cases, you must wait ten years since your conviction without committing a new felony.

Before expungement becomes automatic in Virginia or those not eligible on July 2025 must submit a petition and fingerprints with the court in the jurisdiction that filed the charges. You must show that you meet the eligibility requirements and provide evidence to support your request. If the petition is granted, the court will order that the records be sealed or destroyed.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in Virginia?

Various law enforcement agencies in the state can give you access to Virginia Criminal Records. However, the Virginia State Police (VSP) oversees all criminal records and offers people in the state access to background checks on criminal records.

Generally, you can get a copy of a criminal record in Virginia through the Civil & Applicants Records Exchange (CARE) of VSP.

In most cases, you need to fill out an SP-167 request form. Then, you need to get a money order or certified check made out to the VSP and put it in an envelope with a stamp and a self-addressed label. After that, send the sealed envelope to the CARE mailing address.

Most of the time, it takes 15 days to look up criminal records after requesting them. Since the VSP doesn't offer fast service, you must mail in your request as soon as possible. Also, the agency won't take care of a request until you settle the payment for the service.

Fortunately, free public criminal record search is possible in Virginia. You can call or email the agency requesting a fee waiver. Explain that you can't pay the fee or that there are other reasons to get one.

The person in charge of the record will likely consider the waiver request if releasing the record is best for the public and not for business reasons.

Note that if you are requesting a criminal record for someone else, you must provide written consent from that person. Additionally, if you need a fingerprint-based criminal record check, you must visit a VSP-approved fingerprinting agency.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in Virginia?

Virginia employment background check laws balance the needs of employers to make informed hiring decisions with the rights of job applicants to privacy and protection from discrimination.

These laws cover federal laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. But aside from the federal regulations, Virginia has the following rules essential in the state criminal background check:

Social Media Checks

Employers should be aware that conducting social media checks during the hiring process may expose them to legal risks, including claims of discrimination or invasion of privacy.

Under VC section 40.1-28.7:5, employers must not require applicants or employees to provide social media accounts. Furthermore, it is against the law for a company to require applicants or employees to add supervisors or employers to their contacts.

Ban-The-Box Law

Virginia's "Ban-the-Box" legislation bans employers from inquiring about a candidate's criminal background on a job application or during the first stages of the hiring process.

The Governor signed Executive Order 41 in 2015, which forbade state and local agencies from requesting or verifying applicants' criminal records.

Moreover, under VC section 19.2-389.3, it is illegal for public and private organizations in the state to inquire about past arrests or convictions related to marijuana use.

Note that these laws can be complex and additional requirements or exceptions may apply depending on the specific circumstances. Thus, employers and applicants should consult an attorney to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.


Counties in Virginia