Gaston County residents who have prior convictions in their past should not be punished for it in their future. The stigma associated with a criminal record creates barriers to employment, government aid, and other important resources. Thankfully, North Carolina has expungement law - the eradication of a criminal conviction - that will assist individuals in moving past these mistakes and putting a prior conviction behind them. But in order to qualify for an expunction, Gaston County residents are required by law to meet a series of requirements.
In accordance with North Carolina law (N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5), people who have partaken in these misdemeanors to level H-I felony criminal activities are not eligible for an expungement:
- Crimes involving any type of assault (aggravated assault, sexual assault, domestic violence etc.)
- Crimes that require the offender to put their name on the sexual offender registry
- Crimes that involve the possession of illegal substances such as heroin and methamphetamines; the sale or distribution of cocaine
- Crimes that involve the operation of a commercial motor vehicle
- Hate crimes
In addition, a person who wishes to expunge a conviction must wait a total of 15 years from the date of conviction, or from the active sentence of probation if the punishment was solely a fine. North Carolina residents are solely permitted to expunge one criminal conviction in their lifetime for dismissed charges.
Initiating the Process of Expungement
First, the petitioner must fill out an affidavit stating that they have not had any other convictions besides the one they wish to get expunged. Then two affidavits from people not related to the petitioner must disclose that the petitioner is of good character.
Then the petitioner must fill out the proper expungement form. Petitioners should make sure to have relevant information pertaining to the conviction on hand. This includes the file number, the date of the offense, the date of the arrest, the date of disposition etc. The next step would be to file the petition to the clerk. This usually costs around $175. From here on, a hearing will be scheduled and held to dictate whether or not a person's record will be expunged. If the court approves the request, a judge will order that court records and law enforcement records surrounding that specific case be destroyed.
Experienced Expungement Attorney
The process of getting a conviction expunged is rarely quick. It is usually a time-consuming process that, if not done right the first time, can delay the time it will take for you to finally have a clean record. With the help of a qualified attorney, there is a good chance your petition will be filed correctly the first time. Contact Caulder & Valentine today for a consultation.