What is an Expungement and how does it work in North Carolina?


Charlotte Mecklenburg Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question: What is an Expungement and how does it work in North Carolina?

Question: "What is an Expungement and how does it work in North Carolina?"

Brad Smith:

An Expungement is, when you are charged with a criminal offense, there are two dispositions to a criminal case, you are either going to be found not guilty, or you’re going to be found guilty.

The law in North Carolina until very recently was that you can only expunge a criminal case from your record if you were found not guilty.

Now if you were found not guilty or your case was dismissed, that is the disposition that would show up if someone were to check your record.

In today’s day and age, employers often look at that and think well he just hired some slick lawyer or the court system broke down like it always does, but what an Expungement does is it removes the blueprint or fingerprint that this ever even happened. It removes the charge entirely from your record.

If somebody runs your criminal record, they won’t even see the charge showing up.

Very recently the general assembly amended the statute so that you can now expunge a variety of different criminal convictions, non-violent felonies and non-violent misdemeanors.

So after a wait of about 15 years you can petition the court now to remove even criminal convictions from your record.

What that means is, is an order would ultimately be generated by the court removing the existence of the charge from your record.

So if someone were to run your criminal record, those charges, those convictions wouldn’t show up at all