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Can Misdemeanors Be Expunged?

Whether you have a class one or class three misdemeanor on your record, you may know the feeling of rejection well. It can be difficult to keep a job or get an apartment with a criminal record, even a misdemeanor. If you have already served your time and any probationary period, you may be hoping for an expunged record so that you can start fresh.

in North Carolina, many misdemeanors can be expunged. Let’s take a look at the types of misdemeanors that are generally expunged and those that are not.

Nonviolent Misdemeanors

If your criminal record is nonviolent, you have the right to apply for an expungement for a misdemeanor on your record. Here are some examples of misdemeanor crimes that are usually successfully expunged after the waiting period:

  • Larceny
  • Possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of alcohol underage
  • Damage to property
  • Traffic Misdemeanors
  • Toxic Vapor
  • Identity Theft/Misidentification
  • Charge Not Resulting in Conviction

North Carolina law does not currently allow for the expungement of any assault convictions or Driving While Impaired convictions. Unfortunately, if you have a conviction for an assault or DWI, it also makes you ineligible to expunge any non-violent misdemeanors. Contact us for a free consultation to determine your eligibility.

What Does Expungement Mean for Me?

If your record is expunged, all of the state agencies erase your criminal record from their records. The Administrative Office of the Courts still has your record, but it is only accessible in certain circumstances. Any background check companies are potentially liable for damages if they report your conviction due to the Civil Liability for Dissemination of Certain Criminal History Information. If a potential employer asks you, it is legal to say that you have no prior convictions if your record has been expunged.

Legal Timeline for Expungement

There is a legal timeline that determines when best to apply for expungement of records in each individual case. The good news is that recent law has made the wait period for expungement of a nonviolent misdemeanor only 5 years after the date of the conviction.

Sometimes the waiting period for expungement of “under the age of 18 misdemeanors” is different from the waiting time for adults. If you were under 18 at the time of offense, contact an attorney to determine when you may be eligible.

More Than One Nonviolent Misdemeanor

If you have more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, you can apply for expungement 7 years after any sentence, probation, or post-release supervision is over. 

Not Guilty and Dismissed Charges

A person can expunge dismissed and “not guilty” charges multiple times. Because of new laws in North Carolina you are eligible to expunge all dismissed and “not guilty” charges regardless of when they happened. 

Expungement Process

Expungement is a process that involves a lengthy application with affidavits and possible hearings required. Filing is done with the clerk of court. You must file a petitioner affidavit stating that you have been of good behavior since the adjudication. There cannot be any orders for restitution that are outstanding, so be sure to settle any debts to society before making your application.

You must also file 2 affidavits confirming good character from 2 individuals who are not related to you or to each other. These 2 individuals must be familiar with your reputation in the community you reside. 

The state bureau of investigation then does background checks and looks at any current records. The district attorney may also contact witnesses involved in the case. Often, there is a hearing, depending on the jurisdiction. Witnesses may attend and make a statement that will be taken into account by the judge. 

It is recommended to see an attorney to work with you to apply for expungement of charges. 

Federal or Out-Of-State Criminal Record

A conviction under the laws of the United States or individual states is treated as an “other felony or misdemeanor conviction” for purposes of expungements in North Carolina. Your out-of-state record will show up when the State Bureau of Investigation processes it in their background check. In our state, we have a specific expungement statute that the out-of-state and federal convictions count towards your total convictions in determining your eligibility in North Carolina. 

Seek Counsel

If you have a misdemeanor charge, new laws may make expungement an option available to you. New legislation in 2020 gives an opportunity to have your record wiped clean earlier than ever before. With the waiting period reduced, now is the time to check out whether you might be eligible. Living a life of freedom from a criminal record may be only months away. Contact us at Scharff Law to learn more and apply for the expungement of your record.