Residents of West Virginia have new opportunities to expunge certain types of criminal records.
About The Bill
West Virginia passed Senate Bill 152 (SB152), which establishes policies for residents to have non-violent convictions expunged. Once a record is expunged, it’s treated as if it never existed. The record cannot be considered by employers, landlords or for any other business purpose.
SB152 established policies regarding when a resident may submit an expungement request for misdemeanors and felonies.
· One Misdemeanor. The person may submit one year after completing any sentence of incarceration or period of supervision, whichever is later.
· Multiple Misdemeanors. The person may submit after two years.
· Non-Violent Felonies. The person may submit after five years.
Support For SB152
Senator Glenn Jefferies was the lead sponsor of this bill. He submitted a Press Release that said: “I am very grateful that the West Virginia Legislature passed nearly unanimously and the Governor signed this important legislation to update the law originally passed in 2017. The process to qualify for an expungement or seal of records is not easy; we have put many safeguards in place to protect the public.”
In addition to the Legislature, other notable West Virginia leaders showed their support. Prosecuting Attorneys Catie Wilkes Delligatti and Matt Harvey both spoke in favor of SB152. Delligatti was quoted as saying: “The new law strikes a good balance between restoring the reputation of individuals who have worked to improve their situation and ensuring that consequences remain on the records of violent offenders who could present a danger to our community.”
What West Virginia Employers Should KnowNow that SB152 is active, more West Virginia residents are likely to have criminal records expunged. Once that occurs, employers cannot review or consider those records when making any type of hiring or business decision.
Hiring managers must be careful to ensure they do not inadvertently consider records that are no longer valid. To help accomplish this, all employers are encouraged to utilize the services of an Accredited Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). A CRA has quality assurance steps in place so they only provide current, accurate and reportable records on background checks.
Second Chance Laws And Background Screening
West Virginia’s bill is part of a growing Second Chance movement in the United States. Millions of Americans have criminal records. Having any type of conviction, even if it is minor and outdated, can be a hindrance to people when they are trying to find a place to work or live. Second Chance laws are intended to help people who are not deemed a security risk to find jobs and other basic necessities.
Every employer must be aware of and compliant with laws that are in effect where they operate. Backgrounds Online helps you with those efforts by providing educational resources, compliant forms and background reports that only contain information you can legally use to make informed business decisions and create a safe workplace.
When you are preparing to bring on employees, contractors or volunteers, please contact us please contact us. Our team can help you create custom background screening packages for any position and provide reports that help you build strong, reliable teams. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.