A. If the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the petition is filed (i) gives written notice to the court that he does not object to the petition and (ii) stipulates in such written notice that the petitioner was convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a qualifying offense and that the petitioner committed the qualifying offense as a direct result of being a victim of sex trafficking, the circuit court may grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense without conducting a hearing.

Terms Used In Virginia Code 19.2-327.18

  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • City: means an independent incorporated community which became a city as provided by law before noon on July 1, 1971, or which has within defined boundaries a population of 5,000 or more and which has become a city as provided by law. See Virginia Code 1-208
  • Court: means any court vested with appropriate jurisdiction under the Constitution and laws of the Commonwealth. See Virginia Code 19.2-5
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Person: includes any individual, corporation, partnership, association, cooperative, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, government, political subdivision, or any other legal or commercial entity and any successor, representative, agent, agency, or instrumentality thereof. See Virginia Code 1-230
  • Qualifying offense: means a conviction or adjudication of delinquency for any violation of § 18. See Virginia Code 19.2-327.15
  • Victim of sex trafficking: means any person convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a qualifying offense in the Commonwealth who committed such offense as a direct result of being solicited, invited, recruited, encouraged, forced, intimidated, or deceived by another to engage in acts of prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse for money or its equivalent, as described in subsection A of § 18. See Virginia Code 19.2-327.15
  • Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.

B. If the attorney for the Commonwealth of the county or city in which the petition is filed objects to the petition or does not file an answer, the court shall conduct a hearing on the petition after reasonable notice has been provided to both the petitioner and the attorney for the Commonwealth. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall make reasonable efforts to notify any victim, as defined in § 19.2-11.01, of any qualifying offense of such hearing. The circuit court shall not be required to conduct a hearing if it has previously dismissed a petition for vacatur from the same petitioner for the same qualifying offense.

C. Upon finding that the petitioner has by a preponderance of the evidence proven the elements contained in subsection A of § 19.2-327.17, the circuit court shall grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense. If the petitioner fails to prove any of these elements, the court shall dismiss the petition.

D. The court may grant the writ and vacate the qualifying offense regardless of whether any person other than the petitioner has been charged or convicted of an offense related to the petitioner being a victim of sex trafficking.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 543.