Initiating the process of an expungement is crucial for those who no longer wish to let prior run-ins with the law interfere with their opportunities to succeed. Even if an individual's case has been dismissed, a record is still on display for potential employers, landlords, colleges, in-laws, associates and anyone else who has access to the internet and public records. Thanks to North Carolina legislation, Cumberland County residents are granted the chance to expunge or destroy certain criminal records to rebuild their reputation. But first, they must meet several requirements in order to successfully do so.
Recent changes in state law have allowed Cumberland residents to expunge felony convictions from their record. The enactment of N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 provides that the records of first-time offenders under the age of 18 during the commission of a nonviolent crime are able to be expunged. The statute also details that one who is seeking an expungement must have a clean record from the date of the conviction they wish to expunge, with the exception of traffic violations. It's important to note that under this statute, state residents are solely permitted to expunge one criminal conviction in their lifetime in regard to dismissed cases, and no offense can be expunged no sooner than 15 years from the conviction date.
Petitioners who wish to seek an expungement are not qualified according to the following statutory guidelines:
- Felonies that include any element of assault
- Any offense that requires one to be placed on the state sex offender registry
- Offenses in which a commercial vehicle is used to commit a crime
- Crimes that involve illegal substances such as methamphetamines and heroin; or an offense that involves the intent to sell or distribute cocaine
- Weapons violations
- Crimes committed against people with disabilities
Initiating the Expungement Process
A petitioner must fill out an affidavit proving that they have had no more run-ins with the law after the date of the conviction record they wish to expunge. Two people who are of no relation to the petitioner must also file an affidavit, vouching that the petitioner has a good reputation and continues to be a law abiding citizen.
Then, the petitioner must properly fill out the state expungement form, detailing relevant information to the conviction. Once it is filed to the clerk - which usually costs around $175 - a hearing will be scheduled to determine whether or not the request for expunction will be approved or denied. If approved, a judge will order the courts and law enforcement to expunge all existing records linked to the conviction.
Experienced Expungement Attorney
The expungement process is long and complex. Going through the motions without delays or errors is ideal for those who are eager to move on with their lives after a conviction. With the help of a competent expungement attorney, you can get through the process correctly the first time. If you are in Cumberland County and wish to expunge a prior conviction or dismissal, contact Caulder & Valentine today for a consultation.