Can You Expunge Your Record and Get a Fresh Start?
Criminal records create numerous barriers. Fortunately, you may be able to expunge your record and eliminate those barriers.
While some criminal records should remain permanent, other instances make a permanent scar on someone’s record unjust. After all, to err is human. Therefore, a person’s mistake years ago should not always affect the rest of their adult life.
How a Criminal Record Affects a Person’s Quality of Life
- Limits access to housing, including affordable housing.
- Establishes barriers to forms of employment.
- Limits the ability to seek federal and state financial aid.
- Bars a person from entering the U.S. Military.
- Limits benefits available to the individual from the state.
Can You Expunge Your Record in North Carolina?
North Carolina refers to the act of expunging a record as expunction. To expunge your record, you will have that record permanently destroyed by the courts. It will then restore your history, and you may regain the status you had before conviction.
After a successful expunction, you could legally refuse any criminal acts in the past without it being considered an act of perjury. Per North Carolina General Statutes Section 15A-151, you must admit to prior crimes for immigration.
Only specific types of crimes and cases can be expunged in the state. Furthermore, North Carolina has 12 separate statutes that apply to expunction, which only complicates the issue.
6 Steps to Expunging a Criminal Record in NC
1. Assessing the Type of Offense: Only a Misdemeanor or Level H1 Felony Applies
All statues in North Carolina specify what crimes are worthy of expunction. Your conviction must be a misdemeanor or considered a Level H1 felony to qualify.
However, regardless of misdemeanor status, you cannot expunge an act of assault or if you were required to register as a sex offender.
Also, any possession of higher controlled substances, acts of hate crimes, or the use of a commercial vehicle cannot be expunged.
2. No Additional Convictions
If you have a criminal record with multiple convictions, then no single conviction qualifies for expunction. Instead, the only other acts that can be on your record are traffic citations.
3. 15-Year Wait
A first-time conviction of a non-violent offense must have occurred 15 years ago to qualify for expunction. Therefore, if you have not waited for 15 years, you will have your request denied.
4. Meet with a Criminal Defense Attorney
To fill out the necessary petition and provide evidence that your criminal record qualifies for expunction, it is best to hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in these types of cases. The law is very specific as to what form you must complete and the petition’s filing fee. Any errors in the request process will require you to start over.
5. Prepare for a Court Hearing
Depending on the county where you file, you may have a hearing for your expunction petition. Other counties may waive the hearing requirement. Your attorney will advise you if you must prepare for court.
Want to Expunge Your Record? Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney
To ensure you qualify for expunction, meet with an attorney from DeMent Askew, LLP. We understand that not all criminal records are those that should affect a person for the rest of their lives. You can regain your freedom and status in the eyes of the law once again, and we can help.
Contact our offices now at 919-833-5555 to schedule a no-obligation meeting with a lawyer about your expunction, or inquire online.