Can I get an expunction/expungement?
Cleaning up your criminal record in NC.
Will this be on my record? I most frequently get this question from clients who just had their charges dismissed. I have to explain to them, from the moment you are charged with an offense in North Carolina, whether it be speeding, or assault, it will appear on your record as “pending.” Even it were to be dismissed the very next day, it would still appear on your record that you were charged, and that it was dismissed. You may be asking yourself, well how do I fix this. Many clients are concerned that even a dismissed charge on their record, will hinder them in their search for jobs, or even applications to schools. If you are reading this, you may know the feeling. You are filling out a really promising job application, and then BAM! There is that dreaded question. Have you been charged with, or convicted of a crime?
The good news is that you may be eligible for an expunction/expungement, which would ultimately remove this troublesome bit of your past from your record, and would legally allow you to answer that question with a “No.”
There are countless technical rules that govern this process, but generally speaking if your charge was dismissed, you will likely be eligible to take advantage of this process. However, the most important of these rules to understand is that you are only allowed one expunction. So if you had that dismissed possession of marijuana charge you got in college expunged, unfortunately you probably will not be eligible for another expunction. However, in limited circumstances you can get more than one charge expunged if they all occurred out of the same offense ,or if multiple charges, related or unrelated, were dismissed or a verdict of not guilty was entered during a twelve-month time frame.
Now there are more restrictive rules regarding what can be expunged, when you have an actual conviction. In order for convictions to be expunged from your record, three criteria must be satisfied: 1) the crime must not have been violent in nature (no assaults, murders, rapes, etc.); 2) the person applying has not been convicted of any new charges since the conviction for the charge the are seeking to expunge; and 3) at least 15 years have passed since the end of the person’s sentence for the charges and the application for expunction.
The rules differ a bit if you were under 18 or 22, depending on the offense. If you are a first time offender, and you were under these ages, you may qualify for an expunction for many misdemeanor drug possession or misdemeanor alcohol related convictions.
If this seems complicated, that is because it is. The easiest way to determine if you may be eligible to clean up your record, is to call and set up your free consultation. The only thing you have to lose is the time it takes to make the phone call!