Can I Have a Felony Conviction Expunged in North Carolina?

Avoiding a conviction is not always feasible, even with an excellent criminal defense lawyer. Unfortunately, in our criminal justice system, having a criminal record means that individuals will continue to answer for their crimes long-term, even after paying back their debt to society. The same effect can occur even if an individual is only arrested or charged with a crime.

What is an Expungement?

In North Carolina, expungement is a legal process that seals criminal records from public view. The aim is to make charges or convictions appear like they never occurred. Though state prosecutors and the SBI may still access the documents, the public cannot. Many people pursue expungement to make it easier to find employment. Once a criminal charge or conviction has been expunged, they can answer "no" when asked if they have been charged or convicted.

Certain requirements must be met depending on the specific offense to get a criminal record expunged in North Carolina. Here are some additional details:

  1. Non-violent felony convictions: Up to three non-violent felony convictions can be deleted after a waiting period of at least 20 years from the end of the sentencing or probationary period. The individual must have no other pending charges and must have fulfilled any required restitution.
  2. Non-violent misdemeanor convictions: Non-violent misdemeanor convictions can be expunged after a waiting period of five years from the date of conviction or the completion of any imposed sentence, whichever comes later. Again, there should be no other pending charges or convictions during this period.
  3. First-time convictions for specific offenses before age 18 or 22: Certain first-time convictions for crimes committed before 18 (for misdemeanors) or 22 (for felonies) may be eligible for expungement. These include low-level offenses such as underage drinking, possession of alcohol, or shoplifting. The waiting period is generally one year from the date of conviction or the completion of any imposed sentence.
  4. Not guilty verdict or dismissed charges: If the verdict is not guilty or the charges are dismissed, the individual is eligible to have their record expunged without any waiting period.

It's important to note that some offenses, such as serious violent felonies, sexual offenses, and certain traffic offenses, are generally not eligible for expungement in North Carolina.

Obtaining an expunction typically involves filing a petition with the court and providing the necessary documentation. It is advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney experienced in criminal law and expunctions to navigate the legal process successfully. Obtaining an expungement can provide individuals with starting anew with the opportunity to progress without the stigma of a criminal record.

Can I Have a Felony Conviction Expunged in North Carolina? 

In North Carolina, it is possible to have a felony conviction expunged under certain circumstances. The eligibility for expungement of a felony conviction depends on the following conditions:

  1. No current felony conviction: To be eligible for expungement, a person must not have any recent felony convictions. This means that if you have subsequent felony convictions, you may not qualify for expungement.
  2. Dismissal by the district attorney or court: If the district attorney or court dismisses the case against you, you may be eligible for expungement. This typically occurs when the prosecution decides not to proceed with the case due to a lack of evidence, a legal error, or other reasons.
  3. A not-guilty verdict by a jury: If a jury finds you not guilty of the felony charge, you may be eligible to have the conviction expunged from your record.

It is important to note that the waiting period for expungement of a felony conviction varies depending on the specific charge and the age of the individual at the time of the offense. Generally, the waiting period can range from five to ten years from the date of completion of the sentence or probationary period.

It's essential to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in criminal law and expungements to determine your eligibility and guide you through the expungement process. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the legal requirements to increase your chances of a successful expungement.

How Many Times Can a Person Get an Expungement in North Carolina?

In the past, individuals were only permitted to receive a single expungement under either Chapter 15A or Chapter 90. However, with the current law, multiple expungements are now allowed. Moreover, those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor can now get an expungement after a period of five years has elapsed, while those convicted of a felony can receive an expungement after ten years. It is also worth noting that there is no longer a limit on the number of dismissals that can be erased.

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Expungement Attorney in North Carolina

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand the importance of a clean criminal record in North Carolina. That's why we offer free consultations and personalized advice to help individuals with criminal record expungement. Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to providing comprehensive and effective solutions tailored to each client's unique situation. Don't let a criminal record hold you back - let us help you put your past behind you and move forward with confidence. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.