Expungements

Want your criminal convictions or charges on your record erased?

You may be eligible for what is called an “expungement” (also called an expunction).

Everyone makes mistakes. 

However, if that mistake resulted in a criminal charge, the ramifications could make an impact on a person’s life even if that charge was dismissed.  An expunction is a legal process that can, in certain situations, offer a relief by removing a criminal conviction or charge from a person’s record.  Once the charge is removed from a criminal record, a person can truthfully deny that an arrest, charge, or conviction ever happened.  Many times a person is charged, and that charge is later dismissed or the defendant was found not guilty. Unfortunately, that charge will still show on one’s record until the process of expungement has been completed. If eligible, the result of an expungement means that future employers, schools, and other resources will not be able to see the fact that you were ever charged. In many instances, even if you suffer from a conviction, you may be eligible to have your record expunged as well.

On December 1, 2017 the North Carolina made many changes to the expunction laws, making it easier for North Carolina  residents to start over with a “clean slate” to better their situation.  The two most notable changes were that the legislature lessened the wait times for a conviction to be expunged and secondly, they allowed those persons more than one expungement, if they were found not guilty or if their case was dismissed.

Expunction Eligibility

The NC expunction statutes discuss many offenses eligible for expungement.  They also discuss the different eligibility requirements  for  different groups of people. For example, people who are under 18 and 21 at the time of the offense have different eligibility requirements than those over 21.  The statute also explains expunction for convictions, dismissals, and not guilty verdicts.  You can review the statute here.

Determining eligibility for expunction is not an easy task and while North Carolina does not require an attorney file an expungement, it is best to at least get advice from a license NC Criminal Defense attorney to help you determine your eligibility.

Wait Times for Expunction

With the 2017 changes, the time periods for expunction of convictions have changed. Prior to the changes, the wait time for an expungement of a 1st time non-violent felony was 15 years.  Now you can file for an expungement after 10 years. The wait time for an expungement of a 1st time non-violent misdemeanor has been reduced from 15 years to 5 years.

Dismissed Charges and Not Guilty Verdicts

Another positive change from the 2017 statute amendment was to expand the number expungements a person may receive per lifetime for dismissed or not guilty charges. Currently, there are no limits on the number of expungements for cases that have been dismissed or where the defendant has been found not guilty (as long as a person has not been convicted of a felony in the past).

Do not get weighed down by a criminal charge or conviction. If you have questions about your eligibility for expunction, contact the Law Offices of Anna Smith Felts, PLLC today; 919.834.3790.

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