Court records are publicly accessible in Virginia; corrections records are largely inaccessible; bulk criminal history information may be obtained for research purposes.
Known as the Community Policing Act, House Bill 1250 is aimed at improving collection of data and reporting pertaining to local and state law enforcement practices. As such, the Code of Virginia is amended to account for prohibited practices by law enforcement, wherefore no law enforcement officer shall engage in bias-based policing in the performance of their official duties. In accordance with this bill, the Department of State Police directed to create and implement a uniform Community Policing Reporting Database for local and state law enforcement entities to report data relating to motor vehicle and investigatory stops and complaints of excessive force. State and local law enforcement agencies will be required to report specified data points (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, and gender of person stopped, reason for stop, location, violation, citation, charge, if a search was conducted, etc.). In compliance, the Department of State Police will provide the Department of Criminal Justice Services secure remote access to the uniform reporting database to assess data collected.
House Bill 2278 provided for the automatic expungement of police and court records. In accordance, individual’s granted absolute pardon for a crime that he/she/they did not commit are to receive an automatic expungement of their conviction record. Per HB 2278, the Secretary of the Commonwealth is required to forward a copy of any absolute pardon to the circuit court where the individual was convicted. As a result, those granted absolute pardon are no longer required to petition the court for an order of expungement.