Can I Get My Criminal Conviction Expunged in North Carolina?

Past mistakes should not have to dictate your life for decades. If you made a mistake while younger and were convicted of a crime, you might wonder if you can have that conviction expunged from your record. Having your conviction expunged can help you move past previous mistakes. If the crime fits specific criteria and you meet the eligibility requirements, North Carolina law will allow you to have a misdemeanor felony conviction expunged.

The Requirements for Having a Criminal Conviction Expunged

Not all criminal convictions are eligible for expungement in North Carolina. The crime you were convicted of needs to be a misdemeanor or a level H-1 felony. The crime cannot have:

  • Involved any type of assault
  • Required registration as a sex offender
  • Involved possession of heroin or methamphetamines or the delivery of cocaine
  • Involve a hate crime
  • Involve the use of a commercial motor vehicle

You cannot have any convictions other than a traffic citation on your record. Finally, the petitioner for expungement must wait 15 years from the last date of the active sentence or probation. Alternatively, you will need to wait 15 years from the date of conviction if the penalty is only a fine.

Steps for Getting Your Conviction Expunged

The expungement process takes multiple steps, and hiring an attorney can help you complete each step and meet all of the requirements. First, you will need to gather affidavits. It would be best if you gave an affidavit saying that you have been of good moral character since the conviction and that you have not had any convictions other than a traffic citation. You will also need verified affidavits from two people who are not related to you or each other.

They need to be people who know your reputation and character in the community where you live and state that your character and reputation are good. Finally, you will need an affidavit that no restitution orders are several judgments against you are outstanding. Once you have gathered all of the required affidavits, you must fill out the proper form, AOC-CR-28.

Serving the District Attorney's Office

The next step is serving the district attorney in the county where the charge occurred. This process involves giving copies of the required affidavits and the completed form. An assistant district attorney will sign off on your original form that the district attorney's office has been properly served. You can send the documents in a self-addressed return envelope.

In that case, they will sign your form and return the original documents to you. You also have the option to serve the district attorney's office in person. You can call the DA's office you wish to serve and ask them about how they prefer to receive service. The cost to file an expunction is $175, and you must provide payment to the clerk of court when you file. Your county may require a certified copy of your criminal record, which costs an additional $25.

Expungement Hearing

Depending on your county, you may need to attend a hearing. Each county has its procedures and legal authority to authorize a hearing. Alternatively, the county may decide to waive the hearing. If you have a hearing, it is beneficial to attend the hearing with an attorney who can present evidence in your favor showing that you are of good character and acting as a good citizen in your community. The judge will decide as to the expungement after the hearing.

If the county does not hold a hearing, a judge will review your petition and conduct a background check to determine whether you are legally qualified for an expunction. After that process is complete, if you are successful, the court will send notices to agencies listed on the petition to erase your formal criminal record.

How Long Does This Process Take?

The expunction process is a process that takes time. The judge will need time to review your petition, and then you will undergo a throw background check. In nearly every case, this process takes over a year. It can be a slow process, but it can be worth it for individuals who want to expunge their criminal record and move on with their lives.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Do you have questions about the process of expunging your criminal record in North Carolina? If so, the experienced attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to help. Contact our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys to schedule your free case evaluation.