Expunction is the process by which you can remove arrests or convictions from your record. Until recently, North Carolina only permitted the expungement of certain crimes, based on age, and whether the person was an adult. In general, until recently, felonies could not be expunged, and criminal convictions of adults could not be expunged.
This made it very difficult for someone to clear a record, even if they made a youthful mistake that resulted in a felony, or in a misdemeanor conviction after the age of 18.
But now the law out of Raleigh is relaxing just a bit.
House Bill 1023, signed into law in July 2012, is set to go into effect later this year. When it does, it will open up the possibility for an expungement for people who have low level, non-violent felony or misdemeanor convictions. If you were convicted of a Class A1 misdemeanor or a Class A through G felony, the law does not help you. In addition, assault and sex-related convictions may not be expunged.
Talk to a Raleigh criminal lawyer about whether the law may help you.
Chapter 15A-145.5 of the North Carolina General Statutes applies to all felonies and misdemeanors EXCEPT:
- Class A through G felonies
- Class A1 misdemeanors
- Any offense requiring registration onto a registry, such as a sex offender registry
- Certain sex related or stalking offenses
- Offenses in which a commercial vehicle was used in the commission of the offense
- Offenses that involve methamphetamines, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine
- Weapons violations
- Crimes related to contaminating food or drinks to render one mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
In addition, habitual offenders are not eligible for expungement under this new law.
If an individual was convicted of more than one non-violent felony or misdemeanor or court session, those convictions will be treated as one conviction and will be eligible for expungement. However, multiple convictions occurring as a result of court settings at different times are not all eligible for expungement.
To be eligible, individuals need to have a clean criminal history from the date of the conviction that is being expunged, meaning no further convictions other than traffic violations. Convictions can be expunged 15 YEARS from conviction date or completion of any sentence, whichever is later. For example, if an individual was convicted of felony larceny on June 1 , 1997 and was placed on 1 year of supervised probation, they would not yet be eligible for expungement until the 1 year had passed from the last day of probation.
To receive an expungement, individuals must do the following:
- File a petition with the court where the person was convicted. If you were convicted in Wake County, you must file in Wake County.
- The petitioner must write an affidavit that he/she has been of good moral character since the date of conviction
- Affidavits from two people that are not related to the petitioner stating that they know the character and reputation of the individual as being good
- Completion of a form authorizing a background check to search for convictions and outstanding warrants
- An affidavit from the petitioner stating that there are no outstanding restitution orders or civil judgements
Once the petition for expungement has been received by the court, the District Attorney has 30 days within which to file any objections. If no objections are filed, the petition will be approved, allowing convictions to be removed from local and state-wide databases.
The passage of this bill is a long awaited blessing for many North Carolinians that have been waiting a very long time for a clean slate. To learn more about this new opportunity for expungement and for help with your petition, contact a North Carolina Expungement Lawyer at Chetson Hiltzheimer today!
Note that the law is somewhat complicated, and having had a prior expungement under certain other provisions of NC law may exclude someone from filing a second petition.