In December, North Carolina made significant changes to the state's expungement laws. These changes make it easier to wipe your criminal record clean and get a fresh start. Under the newly amended law, the process for getting your record expunged is accelerated and much easier to navigate. One primary benefit of expungement is keeping your criminal past hidden from future employers. What, if anything, will still show up on a criminal background check?
What Goes On a Criminal Record?
Contrary to popular belief, your criminal record reflects much more than the crimes for which you have been convicted. Your criminal record will reflect any arrest, criminal charge, dismissal, and conviction that occurs during your lifetime. This is true even if you were arrested for a crime you never committed. The fact that you were arrested by police will be clearly stated on your criminal record.
What Happens When a Record is Expunged?
The process of expungement allows you to petition the court to have certain items removed from your criminal record. When your record is successfully expunged, it is as if your run-in with the law never happened. All records of your infraction are erased from state criminal databases and cannot be found during a search.
For example, if you have an arrest expunged from your record, you can truthfully say on a job application that you have not been arrested. When your employer runs a background check, no evidence of your arrest will show up in the state system. Your record is not gone completely, however. North Carolina allows law enforcement officers to search and review criminal records that have been expunged, when necessary.
What Can a Crime Show Up on a Background Check After Expungement?
While the purpose of expungement is to wipe your slate clean and allow you to move forward without the burden of your criminal past, there is no guarantee that a background check will not find evidence of your run-in with the law. State law enforcement databases will scrub any database and public record of your past.
However, there are multiple websites out there that collect information about local arrests and criminal proceedings. These private websites may contain mugshots, copies of previously-available public records, and other incriminating details about your past. It is possible for details of your expunged offense to show up on a background check because of these sources. It is important to note that many of these sites will agree to take down information about your criminal record if you can provide a record of expungement. You may want to consider running a quick search on the internet yourself before applying for a job. If you find information about your past, you can take action to get it removed.
Get Help Expunging Your Criminal Record
Your record will not expunge itself. Once you have satisfied the waiting period (5 years for a misdemeanor, 10 years for a felony) you must take action and petition the court for an expungement. This is the only way to ensure that your criminal record is wiped clean. Contact the North Carolina expungement attorneys at Caulder & Valentine online or at 704-470-2440 for help expunging your record today.