As in other states, in North Carolina having a criminal charge or conviction on your public record may result in overwhelming barriers to employment, housing, professional licensure, education and more. This may be true even if the court ultimately dismissed your case.
However, there is a legal process that may help you regain your personal and career standing. Expungement, or expunction, may allow you to right past wrongs and ensure that you and your family can move forward with your lives.
What is expungement?
Expungement effectively seals off criminal charges or convictions on your record so that past issues do not show up on public background checks.
Who might be eligible for expungement?
Recent changes in North Carolina law have both reduced waiting periods for expungements and extended expunction eligibility to more individuals with a criminal record. You may be eligible for expungement if:
- A jury dismissed your charges or found you “not guilty”
- More than five years have passed since you received a nonviolent misdemeanor conviction
- More than 10 years have passed since completing a sentence or probation for a nonviolent felony
- Depending on the charges, you committed a first-time offense while under the age of 18
- You received a conviction that resulted from being a human trafficking victim
How can you pursue expungement?
Even if you are eligible for expunction, the legal process of filing a petition, attending court hearings and tracking your case may be a difficult task to accomplish on your own. That may be especially true if you need to prove your good character before a judge. However, with strong legal representation on your side, you may be able to get your life, your job and your family back on the track you want to be on.