Final grade: C

Exclusion Grade


Relevance Grade


Due Process Grade



  • Boards must consider evidence of rehabilitation.

Areas of Improvement

  • Ban boards from using “moral turpitude” or “fitness” to disqualify applicants.
  • Extend state’s protections to the Department of Health.
  • Strengthen safeguards for due process by requiring a petition process and placing the burden of proof on the state.

With below-average protections, Virginia earned a C- for its final grade. The state at first appears to have a strong relevancy test, barring boards governed by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation from denying licenses unless the criminal record “directly relates” to the license sought. Unfortunately, this test is immediately undermined by a loophole that lets boards disqualify applicants if they are “unfit or unsuited to engage in such occupation or profession,” which is a far lower standard.

Moreover, boards governed by the Department of Health are completely exempt, allowing those boards to disqualify applicants on the basis of any felony or crime of moral turpitude, regardless of its relevance.

Statute: Va. Code Ann. § 54.1-204 (1979)

Overarching ban on blanket bans Yes, but excludes Health Department licenses
Ban on considering arrest records No
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records Yes, expunged records
Time limit No limit
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards No
Relationship between the crime and the license sought "Unfit or unsuited"
Required factors for consideration
Rehabilitation Yes
Time elapsed since crime was committed Yes
Age when crime was committed Yes
Employment History Yes
Testimonials No
Due Process
Petition Process No, but boards must offer applicants an opportunity to be heard before deciding to disqualify
Burden of Proof Standard unspecified, burden on the applicant
Right to appeal Yes
Written notice requirement Yes