When you were younger, you made a mistake – or maybe you made a few mistakes.
But under North Carolina law, you could qualify for the fresh start you deserve.
Here’s how to get your criminal record expunged so it can’t come back to haunt you when you apply for a job, try to find a new place to live, or apply for credit.
What Does Expunction Do?
Expunction, the official legal term for expungement, restores you to the same status you enjoyed before your criminal record existed. It’s the destruction of your criminal record – and the end result is that you can say it never happened.
What Charges Are Eligible for Expungement?
Not all criminal records qualify for expunction. State laws say that expungement is only available for:
- A nonviolent offense you committed more than 5 years ago
- A first-time offense you committed under the age of 18 (under the age of 22 for some crimes)
- A charge that was dismissed or in which you were found not guilty
What Charges Are Not Eligible for Expungement?
Violent crimes and DWI or DUI are not eligible for expungement.
How to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged in North Carolina
If you’re like many people, you’ll want to work with a North Carolina expungement lawyer to clear your criminal record. Your attorney can file all the necessary paperwork for you so you don’t have to worry about it – all you have to do is wait for the judge to rule on your petition. If you choose to dive into the sometimes-complicated process of criminal record expungement yourself, here’s what you need to do:
- Get a complete copy of your criminal record.
- Determine whether you’re eligible to clear your criminal record.
- Get the right petition form. (There are several different expungement petitions; yours will be based on what’s on the record you’re trying to clear.)
- Fill out the right affidavits, such as an Affidavit of Good Character, and other legal documents.
- Follow county-specific procedures for submitting the petition and your affidavits.
- Wait for a judge’s decision.
In some counties, you must attend a formal hearing. Sometimes the Office of the District Attorney will object to your petition, which he or she will do before the judge if you have a hearing. If you do need to attend a formal hearing, your expunction lawyer can go with you.
When a judge grants your petition for expungement, he or she will order your records destroyed.
How Do You Know if You’re Eligible for Expungement?
Typically, your best bet is to ask an expungement attorney whether you’re eligible – because the laws are subject to change, you can get the most accurate and up-to-date information from a lawyer.
Do You Need to Talk to a North Carolina Expungement Lawyer?
We’ll be happy to answer all your questions about how to get your criminal record expunged, so please feel free to call us at 704-470-2440 to schedule your free consultation with an expungement lawyer. We’ll ask you about your situation and give you case-specific legal advice that helps you start moving forward right away.