In 2012, North Carolina state legislators modified the law to allow individuals convicted of certain crimes to expunge their criminal records. This was a significant change in the law because in the past, expungement was only available for those individuals who had been charged with a crime, but the charges were ultimately dismissed or the accused was found not guilty. The modification in the law is life changing for many North Carolina citizens who could not previously expunge a criminal record due to a conviction. If you or someone you know wants to expunge a criminal record in Monroe Union County, contact the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC.

Expungement Explained

The law in North Carolina and other states across the nation recognizes that one mistake resulting in a criminal charge should not follow a person forever. It is true that anyone can make a mistake. A conviction for a criminal offense, however, often determines how we are viewed not just by the law but by potential employers, landlords, loan officers, and others. In fact, even a simple record of arrest without a conviction can change others’ perception of you. For these reasons, the law in North Carolina recognizes that mistakes happen and allows for a special legal process known as expungement to essentially erase the mistake from your record.

An expungement is important because even if your case is dismissed and the charges against you are dropped, you will likely still have a criminal record. Having a record can put you at a disadvantage in several ways. When a record is expunged, a specialized legal process occurs that wipes your criminal record clean - as if the charge had never happened. Expungement is only available for individuals eligible under North Carolina law. Of note, the rules on expungement can vary from state to state.

Do You Need an Expungement?

If you or someone you know has an arrest or conviction on his or her record, than you are likely already well aware of the difficulties a criminal record can present for you. An expungement can get rid of the obstacle of a criminal record and give you a better shot at obtaining different benefits and necessities such as:

  • Employment: Job applicants who have criminal records often are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding and keeping employment. The exceedingly competitive job market and an employer’s easy access to background checks cause applicants with even minor records to be turned away. Sometimes employers routinely check the records of current employees of the company.
  • Education: Some admissions to undergraduate or graduate schools may depend on an applicant’s personal history, including criminal record. Not only do some admissions departments deny applicants based on criminal records, but the Higher Education Act of 1998 prohibits applicants with drug related criminal offenses on their records to access student loans.
  • Housing: Landlords and homeowners have the right to refuse to sell or rent a home to anyone with a criminal record. Consequently, options for finding affordable and comfortable housing are limited for someone who has a past criminal history.
  • Interest loan weights: Criminal history is considered when determining how high an interest rate loan should be for an applicant, or even if the bank, lender, or insurer will even offer a loan or insurance at all for the person applying.

This is only a short list of the several disadvantages that someone with a criminal record faces. Beyond the above, a person may be prevented from receiving federal assistance, obtaining certain types of licenses, purchasing firearms, adopting children, volunteering at certain places, and becoming certified in certain professional areas.

The Expungement Process

Once the proper information has been gathered, a skilled criminal defense attorney can ensure your expungement is properly filed and proceeds according to the statutory provisions of North Carolina law. The process requires several officials including a judge, district attorney, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts approve expungement. Not surprisingly, expunging a record is very complicated because it requires coordination and approval of several different parties. Expungement can take as long as one year to complete from start to finish. Once a judge grants the expungement petition, the individual’s criminal record will be destroyed in the court system as well as with any administrative agency that also retains criminal records.

Monroe Union County Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or someone you know will benefit from having a clean record in Monroe Union County, do not wait to contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC to see if you qualify to being the process of expungement. Contact us today to learn about your options under North Carolina law and how an expungement can change your life for the better.