A criminal record of prior run-ins with the law is a difficult burden to bear. Any prior arrests and court proceedings can easily be found via court record searches. This means that even if you were not convicted of a crime, you still suffer the consequences of having a highly stigmatized “black mark” on your record.
What kind of negative effects can this have?
Consequences of Living with a Criminal Record
A criminal record or prior arrests severely compromises your freedom in many ways. Background checks are routinely run for housing, employment, college applications, and student loan applications. Prior arrests and convictions may even affect your dating life, as many people now run background checks on potential dates, too.
Let’s look a bit more specifically at each of these potential effects:
- Employment: Most employers require criminal background checks, and a criminal record may disqualify you for many positions.
- Housing: Most landlords run background checks, meaning that housing could be more difficult to find if you have a prior history of arrests or convictions.
- Subsequent Criminal Cases: If you are brought up on additional criminal charges, you may be more severely penalized if you have a prior criminal record.
- Immigration: Any form of criminal record can make a foreign national ineligible for a green card or naturalization.
- Child Custody: A criminal record may limit your rights to child custody. A history of violent crimes or domestic abuse may be particularly detrimental.
- Driving and other Privileges: A criminal record may lead to revocation of your driver’s license. It may also compromise other privileges, such as the right to own or possess firearms.
So how can you keep the past in the past?
It may be possible to expunge your criminal record, hiding it from all but a few people and organizations.
Benefits of North Carolina Record Expungement
In record expungement, your prior arrest or conviction is removed. It is inaccessible to the public, and does not show up on background checks.
In most cases you are not required to disclose an expunged arrest or conviction on employment applications. However, you may be required to disclose your prior record if applying for a school or government agency, a hospital or health care facility, or to the military.
If your record has recently been expunged, we recommend speaking to an attorney prior to applying to ensure that you are answering all questions legally.
Beginning the Expungement Process
Applying for expungement is often a complex process, but is well worth the effort, as you will be relieved of the substantial burden of a criminal record.
First, you must determine if your prior arrest or conviction is eligible for expungement. If you meet the criteria for expungement, you must next file an official application for expungement with the county where you were arrested or charged. The application will then be reviewed and investigated by various state agencies. These findings will then be forwarded to the justice system, which will hold a hearing to determine whether to expunge your record.
Successfully getting your record expunged is a long a complex process. An experienced North Carolina expungement attorney will be able to leverage his or her knowledge of the system to maximize your chance of a favorable outcome, and also make the process much less stressful and laborious for you.
About the Author:
Jan Elliott Pritchett?is Managing Partner at the Law Firm of?Schlosser & Pritchett?and one of North Carolina’s top rated criminal defense attorneys. With a practice dedicated 100% to litigation, Mr. Pritchett protects the legal rights of clients who have been charged in federal and state criminal matters, as well as DUI/DWi, motor vehicle accidents, personal injury, and traffic violations. In practice since 1995, Mr. Pritchett has earned a reputation as a highly talented and fearless lawyer, being listed among the state’s “Legal Elite” and recognized as one of the Top 100 DWI Lawyers in North Carolina by the National Advocacy of DUI Defense.? He currently serves as the Co-Chairman of the North Carolina State Board of Legal Specialization, Criminal Law Specialty, and Vice-Chairman of the North Carolina Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section.