Clinic consultation

Dumfries to host first-ever radiation clinic | News

Getting a criminal charge removed – or removed – from your record can be a costly and arduous task. But it doesn’t have to.

Monae Nickerson, Deputy Mayor of Dumfries

That’s what Dumfries Deputy Mayor Monae Nickerson said she discovered when a family member who was criminally charged – but whose case was never prosecuted – sought to have the charge struck out . The family member’s attorney said he could handle the expungement case for a “reduced” fee of $1,200.

“I was flabbergasted,” she said.

Nickerson later learned of a radiation clinic from a Maryland councilwoman and decided that such an event might be helpful for local residents.

“[We] realized we had to bring this to Dumfries,’ Nickerson said of herself and fellow Dumfries councilor Accordingia Miles. The two are hosting an upcoming ‘Erase Clinic’ for Dumfries residents on Saturday March 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Dumfries Rescue Squad, 3800 Graham Park Road in Dumfries.

The clinic aims to be a “one stop shop” for residents who have criminal charges they want cleared. The event is preceded by an informational webinar on Saturday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The webinar is designed to help potential applicants get an idea of ​​what to expect at the clinic and get their questions answered, Nickerson said.

“They will know what is erasable and what is not,” she explained.

Expungement is a process by which a person who has been arrested and charged with a crime, but has not been convicted, can have the police and court records of the arrest sealed from public view and charges. According to

Candidates for deregistration must wait one year after the closure of their criminal case before applying for deregistration.

The March 19 erase clinic will be supported by the Dumfries Police Department, the Prince William County Prosecutor’s Office, the Prince William Court Clerk and the Prince William County Sheriff’s Office.

Amy Ashworth

Amy Ashworth, Commonwealth Lawyer for Prince William County

“The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office plays a vital role in dealing with expungement cases that are filed in Prince William County. A motion to strike is considered a civil action and the Commonwealth is the defendant,” Amy Ashworth, Commonwealth of Prince William County Solicitor, explained in an email. “Therefore, my office is required to consider the motion and prepare and file a response either objecting to the expungement or stating that we have no objection.

“We chose to participate in the clinic as a public service to our community,” Ashworth said.

The clinic is the first of its kind in the Prince William County area. If successful, Nickerson said she would like to see it become an annual event and use it as a pilot for other areas of the county.

Ashworth said she would “absolutely” like to see more such clinics held in the county.

“If someone is charged with a crime and found not guilty, or if the charge is dismissed, the fact that this charge remains on the person’s file may affect their search for employment or other services” , she said.

Nickerson said she did not know how many people in the Dumfries area could benefit from the clinic.

“I know that criminal charges are thrown over a person’s head — and that impacts employment, higher education, financial aid, housing — all those sorts of things. “, she said. “And the reality is that Virginia has a process that allows for the removal of no criminal history convictions, but the process itself is kind of intimidating, or you pay a lawyer to do it for you.

“That itself lets me know there is a need. Because there are costs associated with it, and it’s a daunting process. An educated guess would be that communities [such as Dumfries]who are typically overlooked or underserved, would be those most in need of this type of assistance,” Nickerson said.

During the clinic, candidates will go through the different stages of the radiation process. First, they will meet a Dumfries police officer, who will access their criminal history. A pro bono attorney will then review the plaintiff’s case and advise if they are eligible for expungement.

Applicants will then meet with a representative from the Prince William County Clerk’s Office and receive a request for disbarment. Once this is complete, an Ashworth representative’s office will review the application and determine if it meets the criteria and should proceed.

The cost to have a criminal charge expunged is $98. People who attend the clinic will not have to take any further steps after payment of the fees. Someone will contact them to let them know if their charges can be dropped or if there is a problem, Nickerson said.

The city uses social media to raise awareness of the clinic and distribute flyers to Dumfries neighborhoods and local businesses.

“We are concentrating our efforts on the town of Dumfries, but we will do our best not to turn anyone away,” Nickerson said.

Ashworth said that if someone decides to pursue an expungement on their own, she advises them to consult an attorney.

“The Virginia State Bar as well as the local Prince William County Bar Association have attorney referral services who, for a small fee, can provide invaluable legal advice,” she said. declared.