Senate Bill 152: West Virginia’s New Expungement Law

ExpSenate Bill 152 will enable certain non-violent felony offenders to have their record expunged after they have served their sentence. It went into effect June 7, 2019.

The new law excludes sex offenses, crimes involving minors, crimes that involved weapons, and DUI offenses (as well as other case exclusions). The preliminary expungement can be sought 3 years after the person has completed supervision/incarceration and full expungement can be granted 5 years after supervision/incarceration has ended (or, if it has been 8 or more years since incarceration/supervision they can file for final expungement 90 days after petitioning for preliminary expungement). The petition has to indicate several things including why someone is seeking expungement (employment, licensure, etc.) and what rehabilitation they have undergone (like treatment, employment, education, etc.) in the time since their conviction. It is a $100 fee to petition for expungement and the Court may (but does not have to) set a hearing where the issue is heard (and opposition can be presented). The petition can only be made once.

Also included in this new law is credit for having completed a Workforce Job Readiness course (with certificate of proof) and/or having a medically-documented substance use history and having been compliant for 90 days with a DHHR-approved substance use treatment and rehabilitation program. If either or both of these factors are met, then expungement can be pursued earlier than stated above. For one misdemeanor, persons have to complete the rehabilitation requirements and be prepared to show proof of those requirements, then can petition for expungement at the conclusion of their sentence, incarceration, or supervision period – whichever comes first. For someone with a nonviolent felony, they must be prepared to show proof of rehabilitation compliance and can petition for expungement after 3 years after conviction, sentence, or supervision is over (whichever is later).

Additional details from Legal Aid WV can be found here; a link to the Motion for Expungement is here; and information about assistance on expungement paperwork can be found in Shauna Johnson’s June 7, 2019 MetroNews story.

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