URGENT NOTICE: Effective December 1, 2012 North Carolina law was modified to allow the expungement of certain criminal CONVICTIONS. In the past, the expungement process was only available to expunge criminal charges which were ultimately dismissed or for which you were found not guilty. This is a tremendous change in the law and can be a life changing event for many North Carolina citizens. The process is involved and may take some time to complete. So, contact us today to discuss whether you may be eligible to clean your record under the new North Carolina expungement law.

What is an Expungement?

Anyone can make a mistake; however, a conviction for a criminal offense, or even the record of an arrest, often determines how we are viewed by employers, loan officers, and the law. Fortunately, the law recognizes that one mistake should not follow us forever and provides for a special process known as an Expungement.

Even if your case was dismissed, you likely still have a criminal record that can put you at a disadvantage in a number of ways. An expungement consists of a specialized legal proceeding that can wipe clean your criminal record. It is important to note that expungements are only available for individuals eligible under North Carolina law and the rules on expungement can vary from state to state. Be sure to contact the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC to find out if you are eligible to have your record eliminated.

Do I Need an Expungement?

If you have an arrest or conviction on your record, then you are probably already familiar with the difficulties a tarnished record can present. An expungement can eliminate that immense obstacle and give you a far better shot at obtaining a number of benefits, such as:

Finding and Keeping Employment - Job applicants with criminal records are almost always at an extreme disadvantage. Given today’s exceedingly competitive job market and employers’ extensive access to your background, applicants with even minor arrests may be turned away. In some cases, employers may even systematically check the records of current employees.

Interest Rates - Banks, lenders and insurers routinely consider your criminal history in determining how high your interest rates should be, or if they will even offer a loan or insurance at all.

Education - Admission to universities or graduate schools may depend on your personal history. Admissions departments often disqualify applicants based on criminal records. Furthermore, under the Higher Education Act of 1998, any drug related criminal offense on your record will prevent you from accessing student loans or grants.

Housing - Individuals may refuse to sell or rent to anyone with a criminal record, limiting your options for finding affordable and comfortable housing.

Unfortunately, the above list only covers a few of the many disadvantages a criminal record creates. You may also be prevented from obtaining certain licenses, receiving federal assistance, becoming certified in certain professional areas, purchasing firearms, adopting, or even volunteering.

What is the Process?

For those eligible, our office will work to resolve your case efficiently and accurately and from a client’s perspective the process is relatively easy. You do not have to appear in court or even come to our office. Once you provide some some basic information, we handle the rest.

After gathering preliminary information, Arnold & Smith, PLLC attorneys will ensure that your expungement is filed properly and proceeds in accordance with the complex statutory provisions. This process requires that expungements be approved by a number of officials including a judge, district attorney, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Since an expungement requires the coordination of so many different parties, it is often a lengthy process and could require as much as one year to complete. You can rest assured that throughout this process, Arnold & Smith, PLLC will do everything to make sure your expungement proceeds as quickly as possible.

Once the judge grants your petition, your criminal record will be destroyed both in the court system, as well as in any administrative agencies (such as the DMV or sheriff’s department) that also retain records. Finally, you can relax and enjoy your peace of mind because you have a clean record and the reputation you deserve.

If you could benefit from having a clean record, do not hesitate to contact us to see if you qualify to begin the Expungement process.