If you’ve had a DUI in North Carolina, then the words “background check” may strike fear in your heart. That’s understandable, as background checks are normally done for important things such as getting a new job.
If you’ve had a DUI, chances are you don’t want people to know about it, but it’s inevitable that anyone doing a background check on you will find it. That’s why many people want to know if a DUI in North Carolina can be expunged from their record or not.
The answer to that question is more complicated than you may think. Read on to find out whether or not you may be eligible to have your record expunged for a DUI in North Carolina.
North Carolina Expungement: What Is It?
Criminal records can be sealed or expunged. Sealing means that the record is not publicly available and will not show up on background checks but will still show up on searches done by law enforcement.
Expungement is very similar, except that it effectively removes the record from the view of the public or law enforcement. If your record is expunged, then you can say no if someone asks if you have a previous criminal record – because, for all intents and purposes, you do not!
How To Expunge Your Record in NC
Under North Carolina law, there is no limit on misdemeanors and felonies for which you can request an expunction. You must, however, wait a certain amount of time before attempting to expunge your record. For misdemeanors, it’s five years, and for felonies, it is 10 years.
Felonies can only be expunged under North Carolina law if you were acquitted by a jury, the court dismissed your case, or you don’t have any other felony convictions on your record.
Misdemeanors can be expunged in situations where the jury acquitted you of charges or the case against you was dismissed. In those cases, you don’t have to pay to file for an expungement. However, in cases where you were found guilty and are asking for an expungement, you must pay to file the petition.
If you are seeking to have your DUI/DWI dropped in North Carolina, then the case against you must have been dropped, dismissed, or you need to have been found not guilty at a jury trial.
Can All North Carolina DUIs Be Expunged?
Not all DUIs can be expunged in North Carolina. If it meets the criteria listed above, then you can file for an expungement.
However, anyone who has been convicted of a DUI cannot have it expunged from their record in the state. This is the number one reason why it’s vital to have a strong defense when you are facing DUI charges in the state – once you are convicted, there is simply no way to have it removed from your record, even if you never get found guilty of any other crime again.
Talk to an Experienced NC Attorney
If you think your DUI may be eligible for expungement, then consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to get the ball rolling. Expungement can take between nine and 12 months to be completed, so it’s not a fast process – and you want it removed from your record as soon as possible.
Bring all of your documentation for your case with you to the consultation with the attorney so they can get a sense of what your case entails and if you qualify.