Every person on the planet makes mistakes sometimes. It’s universal to err as a human. But for some people, their mistakes can follow them around for the rest of their lives in the form of a criminal record.
For people who are caught and either charged or convicted of perpetrating a crime, the state of North Carolina offers a solution to right your past wrongs through something called record expungement. There are guidelines and requirements that you must meet to get this process started, but it can be very helpful for those who are ready to move past their mistakes and start anew.
Many people have questions about record expungement in North Carolina and whether or not it’s right for them. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions here as a resource to help those in the state understand what record expungement can do for them.
What Is Record Expungement in North Carolina?
When a court record is expunged, it is essentially destroyed via a court order. When someone has a criminal record in the state, it becomes a part of the permanent public record. However, for those who have expungements granted, it’s as if the offense on their criminal record never happened.
Who Qualifies for Expungement in North Carolina?
The law in North Carolina is very specific about what types of offenses can be expunged from a person’s record. The courts will only grant expungement to certain violations, and there are many criminal acts that cannot be expunged in the state.
Very generally, a person can only have their record expunged if:
- The case against them was dismissed or found not guilty
- A misdemeanor or Class H or I felony is on your record, but you were only 16 or 17 at the time of conviction
- There is a nonviolent misdemeanor on your record, and it’s been at least five years since your sentence for that crime ended
- There are multiple nonviolent misdemeanors on your criminal record, and it’s been at least seven years since your sentence ended
- You were convicted of a nonviolent felony, and it’s been at least 10 years since your sentence was completed
- You have two to three nonviolent felonies on your criminal record, but it has been 20 years since your sentence was completed
How Can You Get Your Record Expunged?
The best way to get through the expunction process is with the help of an experienced attorney. They can let you know if you qualify before you take the time to file all the required paperwork. They can also help you ensure you have everything you need to petition the court and follow up with law enforcement agencies after your expungement is granted to remove your records.
It is possible to file for an expungement on your own, but it requires several steps. If any step is missed, then your request will be denied. You must:
- Get a copy of your criminal record
- Fill out the forms needed for the particular type of expunction you are requesting from the court
- Have all the other forms you need, such as a fee waiver form and notarized statements
Record expungement is not an easy process in North Carolina, but it’s been very beneficial for many people looking to put their past behind them and start fresh. If you’re considering record expungement, then you should contact an attorney.