Expungement Lawyers to Help Clear Your Record
Recently, Governor Roy Cooper signed a new expungement law that will reduce the waiting period to have non-violent misdemeanor and felony convictions expunged. This means that these individuals will have their criminal history that qualifies under the new expungement laws removed from their records. The goal of Senate Bill 445 is to give more than 2 million North Carolina residents the opportunity to have their criminal history cleared faster.
What Changes Were Made to NC Expungement Laws?
As of December 17, 2017, the new expungement law will alter the following things:
- The waiting period for Misdemeanor convictions is reduced from 15 years to five years
- The waiting period for Felony convictions is reduced from 15 years to 10 years
- There will no longer be a limit placed on the number of dismissals that can be expunged
- Prosecutors and law enforcement will have access to expunged records
The following crimes can be expunged under the new law:
Criteria for Expungement Qualification
In order to file for expungement of your criminal record in North Carolina, you must fill out a petition at the court where you were originally charged. Filing the necessary paperwork alone will not guarantee your criminal history will be expunged.
In order to qualify for expungement in North Carolina, you must:
- Meet the waiting period requirements for the charge you wish to remove from your history.
- Show proof of payment and settled costs for all court-ordered fees.
- Not be on probation or parole with any court, not just in the state of NC but anywhere.
- Not have any warrants out for your arrest, nor any active criminal summons.
- Not have any open criminal cases or pending criminal charges.
If you meet the above criteria, you are eligible in the state of North Carolina to have your criminal records expunged.
Expungement of a Criminal Conviction in North Carolina
Just as not all crimes are punishable in the same way, different crimes have different sets of waiting periods and eligibility requirements for expungement.
Let’s explore some of the most common criminal charges and what you need to know before filing to expunge that particular charge in the state of NC.
Expunging a Felony Conviction in NC
Unfortunately, felony convictions for violent offenses are not eligible for expungement.
If your felony conviction is for a non-violent offense, you are eligible to have those charges dismissed or to be awarded a non-guilty verdict.
If you receive a guilty conviction for a non-violent felony, the waiting period to file for expungement depends on the charge and your age.
Expunging a Misdemeanor Conviction in NC
Non-guilty misdemeanor charges in North Carolina are immediately eligible for expungement.
Whereas a guilty verdict will result in a waiting period. The waiting period depends on your age and the specific charge.
Expunging a Larceny Conviction in NC
A non-guilty verdict for a larceny charge immediately qualifies for expungement.
If found guilty of larceny in North Carolina, individuals under the age of 18 have a waiting period of two years; adults over the age of 18 have a waiting period of five years.
Expunging a Drug Charge in NC
If you received a drug charge that was eventually dropped, you are immediately eligible for expungement.
A drug charge in the state of North Carolina has a waiting period that ranges between 10 to 12 years as long as the offender was under the age of 22 at the time of the offense. This is also dependent on what the specific drug charge was.
For first-time drug offenders, you can be eligible for expungement after the completion of the 90-96 program. This program is offered by the state and consists of approximately 15 hours of drug education and rehabilitation classes.
Expunging a DWI in NC
If your DWI charge is either dismissed or results in a not-guilty verdict, you are immediately eligible for expungement.
Unfortunately, guilty DWI convictions in North Carolina are not eligible for expungement in any circumstance.
The North Carolina Expungement Process
If you are exploring your options for erasing your criminal record, you likely have questions about the process of applying for expungement.
The exact process depends on the specific charge– with the help of one of our expert expungement attorneys, we can help you through the process as it relates to your individual criminal charges. During the consultation, we can discuss some of the options for expunging multiple charges or convictions if necessary.
Forms to petition for expungement can be found here.
How long does the expungement process take in NC?
The process for expungement typically takes between 9 to 12 months regardless of the charge.
Will expunged charges show up on a background check for jobs?
No, your expunged charges will not show up on background checks for future jobs. Under North Carolina law, the crimes that you have been charged with will remain on your record indefinitely if they are not expunged. This includes pending charges, convictions, Prayer for Judgment Continued, and dismissals.
This applies to both misdemeanor and felony convictions. It is important to note that your charges will never automatically be removed from your record after a certain number of years. If you wish to have your record cleaned up, you will need to file for expungement.
Where to file for expungement in NC
Your petition form should be filed at the county courthouse where your charge or conviction took place. You can find more information on that here.
Why Work with an Expungement Lawyer?
Because there are numerous forms that apply to each statute subsection for North Carolina’s expungement law, you should enlist the help of an experienced attorney to ensure you complete the filing process correctly.
If there are errors in your paperwork, you risk not getting approved for expungement. It is always best to leave the legal work to the experts. For the sake of your future opportunities, working with a lawyer is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself during the expungement process.
Speak with an Attorney for Criminal Record Expungement Today
Do you need help getting your criminal record expunged? At Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, we have over 50 years of combined legal experience, and we will aggressively defend your legal rights. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you by filling out our contact form or calling (919) 845-6688 to schedule a free consultation.