A criminal record can follow you around your entire life depriving you of opportunities. The good news though, is that in North Carolina it’s possible to get your criminal record cleaned by petitioning the court for an expungement. Keep reading to learn more about expungements in NC or schedule a consultation with a North Carolina criminal defense lawyer to start the petitioning process today.
What is an Expungement in NC?
In North Carolina, an expungement is when a judge orders a record sealed so the public cannot see it. The purpose of the expungement is to seal a record as if the charge or conviction had never occurred. While the SBI, and soon prosecutors, can see your record, the public cannot.
There are multiple different Expungement Statutes in North Carolina and different types of expungements. There are different rules and filing fees depending upon how the case was disposed of. For example, there is a statute to expunge past convictions and a different statute for expunging dismissals. Currently, there is a filing fee at the clerk of court to petition for an expungement when the case was dismissed under deferred prosecution, but no filing fee when it is voluntarily dismissed. Each different statute has different rules.
Who can get an expungement in North Carolina?
Currently, North Carolina residents are limited to 1 expungement during a lifetime. But, a new law went into effect on December 1, 2017 which allows multiple expungements when a case is dismissed, deferred, or not guilty. However, for convictions, even the new law limits you to one expungement, but it can include a set of convictions during a 12-month window.
With this new law, you can get an expungement on a (non-violent and not a DWI) misdemeanor conviction after 5 years and on a felony after 10 years. Under the new law, Senate Bill 445 the limitation of 1 expungement per lifetime is removed, for dispositions other than convictions, and the waiting periods have been shortened as well.
· non-violent misdemeanor conviction wait period will be 5 years instead of 15
· non-violent low-level felonies wait period will be 10 years instead of
The new law also gives prosecutors electronic access to records expunged on or after December 1, 2017. So, while the records are sealed to the general public, and you can legally say you have not been charged, the prosecutor can see them in a confidential system, so they may be considered on future convictions.
The statute provides an opportunity for thousands of North Carolinian’s who have already paid their debt to make positive contributions in their communities and to lead meaningful lives.
How do I petition for a North Carolina expungement?
The first step is to determine if you are eligible for an expungement and if so under which statute. Currently, NC has 12 statutes that allow for expungement of a criminal record. An experienced expungement lawyer can do a pre-screening and see if you are eligible to petition for an expungement.
Meet with an Expungement Lawyer in North Carolina
Dummit Fradin expungement lawyers have extensive experience handling all types of expungement cases in North Carolina. They’ll answer all your questions and guide you through the petition process so you’ll never feel lost. Contact us today to request your consultation and pre-screening.
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Your needs are our top priority. No matter what the case entails, we look forward to meeting and working with you to get through this matter as efficiently and effectively as possible. Stop by one of our locations today in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or High Point, NC. We currently service the following counties: Forsyth County, Guilford County, Surry County, Stokes County, Yadkin County, Davie County, Davidson County, Rockingham County, Randolph County, and Alamance County.