Wrongly Arrested UVA Student Asks to Have Record Expunged

Posted: Updated: Oct 04, 2013 10:41 AM

The University of Virginia student arrested after state ABC agents mistook a box of sparkling water for beer wants her arrest record erased for good. Elizabeth Daly was charged with three felonies. The charges were dropped and now Daly has filed a petition in Charlottesville Circuit Court to have the charges erased or expunged.

Daly was arrested on April 11 after she and two classmates bought sparkling water, cookie dough and other supplies for a sorority fundraiser at the Harris Teeter in Barracks Road Shopping Center. ABC agents mistook the sparkling water for beer. Daly has said she panicked because the agents weren't in uniform and one pulled a gun. She fled with the two others and planned to go to police.

"It is terribly sad these are traumatic events that happened to citizens who hadn't done anything wrong," said Dave Chapman, Charlottesville's commonwealth's attorney.

Commonwealth's Attorney David Chapman is talking about the raid last spring when Daly landed in jail with three felony charges. Daily was charged with two counts of felony assault and battery and one felony count of eluding officers.

"We found after being able to consider all of the evidence why it happened and that it was fundamentally inappropriate to prosecute," said Chapman.

The commonwealth dropped the charges against Daly but this week, Daly filed a petition to have her record expunged.

"An expungement provision is simply asking the court for an order to have the entire arrest taken out of court records," said Lloyd Snook, NBC29 legal analyst.

Chapman hopes the court grants Daly's request.

"For any person at all, when they have no criminal record and all of a sudden they get an arrest record, it's important that they get it expunged," said Chapman.

Otherwise, the person might have problems clearing background checks for employment or other reasons. And even though Daly's record will likely be cleared, according to Chapman the case is important.

"I do think it is important for law enforcement to respond to these events publicly and say here's what we learned and here is what we did," said Chapman.

The raid triggered public outcry and a state investigation.   

Almost 80 days have passed since the state started investigating and we still don't know when or if we'll see the results of that investigation.