Felony expungement is possible in North Carolina – but not everyone is eligible, and it's only available for certain felonies.
Felony Expungement: What You Need to Know
Felony expungement, which is what happens when a judge orders a felony erased from your criminal record, is a way for tens of thousands of North Carolinians to get a fresh start. Whether you want to expunge a gang offense that you committed when you were under the age of 18 or another type of felony expungement, you could be entitled to a clean slate.
When you want to expunge a felony, you have to be eligible. So does the crime you committed. If one or the other isn't eligible, you can't clear your record.
Who's Eligible for Felony Expungement?
In order to expunge a felony conviction, you must not have any other convictions on your record. If you used another type of expungement in the past, you're usually not eligible (although you could be eligible for other types of relief). You can't have any open criminal cases, warrants out for your arrest, or any pending criminal charges, either.
For most people, it makes sense to talk to a NC expungement lawyer who can help. Your attorney will figure out whether you're eligible, and when the time comes, he'll handle all the legal aspects of your case so you don't have to worry about them.
What Types of Felonies Are Eligible for Expungement?
Not all felonies are eligible for expungement. In fact, only Class H and Class I felonies can be cleared from your record, with the exception of some nonviolent felonies that occurred while you were a minor.
The only felonies that are eligible for expungement are those considered nonviolent (those in which assault is not an essential element of the crime) and those that don't require you to register as a sex offender – neither of those types of felonies are ever eligible for expungement. You can't expunge a DWI, either.
Felony Expungement for Crimes You Committed as a Minor
If you committed certain felonies as a minor – or even some felonies under the age of 22 – you could be eligible for expungement.
The law says that if you were under 18 and a first-time offender, you may file for an expungement of the conviction. The felony must be nonviolent and must not be one that requires sex offender registration. You can file this expungement petition 4 years after your conviction or the date you completed your probation, active sentence or post-release supervision. You can't have other convictions, but prior expungements won't prevent you from getting this one. You must also have completed at least 100 hours of provable community service.
The law also provides the ability to people who were under 22 and convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance to file for expungement. You have to wait at least 12 months after the date of your conviction or the completion of your probation, and you can't have any other convictions. (Minor traffic violations don't count.) If you have previously had a record expunged in this category, you can't get another one. To qualify, you must have successfully completed an approved drug education program.
Felony Expungement for Gang Offenses
If you were convicted of a Class H felony under Article 13A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes before you turned 18, or if you were convicted of an enhanced offense under G.S. 14-50.22 (these are gang-related offenses), you could be eligible to ask the court to clear it from your record. You still have to wait until 2 years after the date you were convicted or completed your probation, and you can't have any other convictions. Even if you've had other records expunged, you could still be eligible for this one.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Felony Expungement?
If you need to speak with an attorney about felony expungement so you can get the fresh start you deserve, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 704-470-2440 for a free felony expungement consultation right now. We'll answer all your questions and help you get back on track.