North Carolina Expungements FAQ
A criminal conviction, even for a relatively minor offense, can have long-lasting effects. A conviction can make it difficult to get a job and cause embarrassment for years to come. Fortunately, North Carolina recognizes that some people don’t deserve to be branded as criminals for life. While it can be a challenging process, you may be able to have a criminal conviction removed from your record.
At Randall & Stump, PLLC, our NC expungement lawyers understand how hard it can be to live with a criminal record. We help clients in Charlotte and the surrounding areas clean up their records so they can live normal lives. To schedule a free consultation of your case, and to learn more about expungements in North Carolina, contact us today at (980) 237-4579.
What You Need to Know About Expungements in NC
The process of clearing your criminal record can be complicated. For answers to commonly-asked questions on the topic, keep reading below.
Is there a difference between expungement and expunction?
Most states use the term “expungement,” while the technical term in North Carolina is “expunction.” For purposes of this article, we’ll use the term “expungement,” because the term is commonly used in the state.
What is an expungement?
An expungement is a legal process that removes a criminal charge or conviction from your record. A successful expungement makes it as if the crime never happened. Once your record has been expunged, you can legally state that you have not been convicted of that crime.
Can I get my record expunged?
You can get your criminal record expunged if you meet the certain criteria. Among other things, expungements are available for people who were found not guilty, whose case was dismissed, or who were convicted of non-violent misdemeanors and felonies. However, there are a number of expungement statutes in North Carolina that apply to specific crimes, including varying waiting periods for non-violent convictions. That said, expungement law can be very complicated, and specific exclusions or exceptions may apply to your case. Reach out to a Charlotte criminal defense lawyer at our firm to learn more.
Can I get my juvenile record expunged?
You cannot file for the expungement of a juvenile offense until you have turned 18-years-old, or your case has been finished for 18 months. In addition, expungement is not available if you were convicted of serious crimes such as violent assault. Any subsequent convictions (other than for traffic violations) will also disqualify you for expungement.
Can I get multiple convictions expunged?
Under the new law in North Carolina, depending on the ultimate outcome of the various charges you are looking to expunge, you may be eligible to file multiple expungements.
When can I file for an expungement?
If you were found not guilty or your charge was dismissed, you are immediately eligible to file an expungement. If you were convicted of your charge, there is a waiting period that must pass before you are eligible to apply for an expungement. North Carolina law was amended in 2017 in order to reduce the amount of time people needed to wait before seeking an expungement:
- Misdemeanor convictions can be expunged after 5 years.
- Felony convictions can be expunged after 10 years.
How do I get an expungement?
There are multiple steps to obtain an expungement in NC. To start the process, you must first file a petition requesting the court to expunge your conviction in the county court where you were first charged. Your petition will consist of two main components:
- Appropriate expungement forms – These will vary by county, by offense, and by other circumstances.
- Affidavits – These could assert that you have no other convictions, or they could speak to your character.
Once you have filed all of the necessary documents, the petition will then be reviewed by the Administrative Office of the Courts and the State Bureau of Investigation.
Can my request get denied?
Once your petition has been reviewed, it will be returned with a report indicating whether you meet the necessary requirements for eligibility. Your expungement could be denied if the court finds that you are not eligible, or there are other issues with your petition.
Will I need to go to court?
The court may schedule a hearing on your petition if there are questions regarding your eligibility, or if the district attorney has any questions. If there is a hearing regarding your petition, the court will either grant or deny your expungement after both sides have an opportunity to present their case.
How long does it take?
Seeking an expungement is a time-consuming process, and unfortunately, there is no set timeline for obtaining one in North Carolina. The entire process could take several months, depending on the backlog of expungement applications ahead of yours.
Do I need to hire a lawyer?
You are not required to hire an attorney in order to get your record expunged. However, the process is complicated, and a simple mistake can jeopardize your eligibility. An experienced expungement lawyer can help you determine your eligibility, which forms need to be completed, and make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Do You Have Questions About Expungement in North Carolina? Call Us Today
An expungement can be extremely helpful for people who are struggling to get out from under their criminal history. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we can help determine whether you qualify for expungement, while simultaneously navigating you through the process as efficiently as possible. To schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case, call us today at (980) 237-4579, or reach out through the online contact form.