We Go to Battle to
Protect Your Freedom

Free Case Consultation

Can You Get a Felony Expunged in North Carolina?

Have you ever wondered if a mistake from your past could be wiped clean? In North Carolina, the answer might be closer to yes than you think. Expungement, or the process of erasing criminal records, offers a fresh start to many who thought their past actions would forever define their future opportunities.

Whether you’ve faced misdemeanor or felony charges, understanding your rights and options for expungement can open doors that seemed permanently closed. Let’s dive into how this process works and how it might be a game-changer for you.

Understanding Expungement in North Carolina

Expungement might just be the key to a brighter future you’ve been looking for. So, let’s break it down together, shall we?

What’s Expungement Anyway?

In simple terms, expungement is the legal process of erasing or sealing your criminal record from the public eye. Think of it as hitting the delete button on that felony conviction or misdemeanor that’s been haunting you.

Getting a felony conviction expunged is like telling the world, “This never happened,” at least in the eyes of most employers, licensing agencies, and everyday folks running a background check on you. When you seal criminal records, it’s like your felony offense never existed.

Felony Convictions: Can They Disappear?

You might wonder, “Can my felony really just vanish?” Well, for many felonies, especially non-violent crimes and certain offenses that didn’t involve a deadly weapon or sexual battery, the answer could be yes.

North Carolina has opened the door wider for folks looking to expunge felony convictions, especially if these offenses are from your younger days or are non-violent.

However, remember, crimes like murder or sex crimes are off the table for expungement. And so are most DWI convictions since they are considered violent crimes in North Carolina.

The Path to Clearing Your Record

Starting this journey requires understanding a few key steps. First off, there’s a waiting period.

Patience plays a pivotal role in the journey to expungement. North Carolina requires a waiting period, a stretch of time to demonstrate your commitment to staying out of trouble. This period varies but serves as a testament to your change.

Think of it as a timeout to prove you’re on a new path. It’s there to show you’ve turned a new leaf since your conviction or arrest.

Next up, eligibility requirements. Not everyone can press the expungement button.

You’ve got to meet specific criteria, which depend on the nature of your offense, your criminal history, and how much time has passed. And yes, court fees are part of the equation for those who aren’t indigent, but they’re a small price to pay for a clean slate.

Understanding Eligibility

In North Carolina, the doors to expungement aren’t wide open for all, but recent changes have indeed broadened the path for many.

If you’re wrestling with a felony on your record, here’s what you need to know about stepping into eligibility:

  • Type of Felony: Not all felonies are created equal in the eyes of expungement laws. Non-violent felonies, particularly those without serious harm or danger to others, often find favor. However, violent crimes, sexual offenses, and felonies involving federal law generally stand outside the realm of expungement.
  • Age Matters: For those who stumbled during their youth, North Carolina offers hope. Certain felonies committed at a younger age might be easier to expunge, reflecting the state’s belief in second chances and personal growth. Conviction for misdemeanors or Class H or I felonies committed before December 1, 2019, while 16 or 17 are now eligible for expungement in North Carolina.
  • Dismissals and Acquittals: Here’s a silver lining – if your charges were dismissed or if you were found not guilty, you’re in luck. North Carolina allows for the immediate expungement of these records, clearing the slate without a waiting period.
  • Multiple convictions? State law now allows for a broader scope for the crimes where you record expunged.

Learning About Specific Laws Related to Expungement

Click on the links below to learn more about the legalities of a potential felony expungement. If you need help understanding the legalese, contact Scharff Law for a FREE consultation and find out about your eligibility for expungement.

  • For those involved in gang-related offenses, there’s a law, N.C.G.S. 15A-145.1, just for those situations.
  • For drug offenses, if you got your drug charges dismissed because you completed a special program (conditional discharge), you’d look at N.C.G.S. 15A-145.2(a). If your drug charges were completely dismissed or the court found you not guilty, read N.C.G.S. 15A-145.2(b)
  • If the conviction was for criminal charges related to drug or drug paraphernalia, you’d refer to N.C.G.S. 15A-145.2(c).
  • Toxic vapor criminal records have their own set of rules. If the court dismissed charges after you completed a program, see N.C.G.S. 15A-145.3(a). If the court dismissed felony criminal records or acquitted you, then it’s N.C.G.S. 15A-145.3(b). And for convictions of toxic vapors offenses, you’d go to N.C.G.S. 15A-145.3(c).
  • For those under 18 with criminal records that weren’t violent, this law, N.C.G.S. 15A-145.4, helps clear nonviolent felony convictions. And for nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors in general, check out N.C.G.S. 15A-145.5.
  • Prostitution offenses have their own path to expungement with N.C.G.S. 15A-145.6
  • For a criminal charge or alcohol-related infraction that a court dismissed but not through a special program (starting effective December 1, 2014), see N.C.G.S. 15A-146(a) or 15A-146(a1).
  • For identity theft charges where the court found you not guilty or the charge was set aside, read, N.C.G.S. 15A-147(a). And if you faced charges the court dismissed because of mistaken identity or identity theft, there’s also a specific statute, N.C.G.S. 15A-147(a1).
  • If the court overturned your conviction on appeal or granted a pardon of innocence, there’s N.C.G.S. 15A-148.
  • And if you were convicted but later received a pardon of innocence, the law you’d look at is N.C.G.S. 15A-149.

Filing Your Expungement Request

Ready to file? You’ll need to draft a petition, basically a formal request, asking the court to expunge your record. This involves gathering the right documents, including affidavits to support your good character.

It’s a bit of paperwork, but it’s nothing you can’t handle, especially with the right North Carolina expungement attorney by your side.

Why You Might Need an Attorney

Having an attorney guide you through the expungement process can make a huge difference. They know the ins and outs, the shortcuts, and how to navigate the tricky parts of the law.

Plus, they often offer a free consultation to get you started. Think of them as your personal guide to clearing your record. Besides, there is often a hearing involved in felony convictions, and unless you know civil procedure, you’ll need an experienced felony expungement attorney.

The Impact of Expungement

Imagine applying for a job, a professional license, or even a rental home without that felony or misdemeanor looming over you. That’s the power of expungement. It opens doors that were once closed, helping you move forward without the shadow of past mistakes.

And while certain government agencies and law enforcement might still access your sealed records, for most of everyday life, you get to hit the reset button.

The Path Forward

Ready to take the first step? The expungement process in North Carolina, while detailed, is navigable with the right information and support.

Whether you’re aiming to expunge misdemeanor convictions or a felony criminal record, understanding the specific criteria and preparing your expungement request meticulously are key.

  • Legal Guidance: Considering the complexities, seeking legal advice can be a game-changer. An attorney focused on North Carolina’s expungement laws can offer invaluable insights, ensuring your petition is both complete and compelling.
  • Documentation and Filing: Arm yourself with the necessary documents – a clean record post-conviction, proof of your waiting period, and any other requirements specific to your case. Filing your petition with accuracy and care can significantly impact the outcome.

Embracing a Brighter Future

Expungement isn’t just about erasing a conviction; it’s about reclaiming your life and unlocking opportunities you once deemed out of reach.

From securing employment to pursuing education without the shadow of a past mistake, expungement can be the key to a brighter future.

With patience, the right approach, and perhaps a bit of legal help, stepping beyond the confines of a felony conviction is more than just a dream – it’s a possibility. North Carolina’s expungement laws are designed with hope in mind, offering a path to those ready to move forward from their past.

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it. Expunging a felony or misdemeanor in North Carolina isn’t just a dream. It’s a real possibility that could lead to obtaining employment, furthering your education, or simply living your life without the burden of your past. The key is understanding the process, meeting the eligibility requirements, and maybe getting help from a legal expert.

Ready to take the first step towards a clearer record and a brighter future? Let’s get that petition filed and turn the page on yesterday. Your new chapter is waiting.

Scharff Law Can Help

At Scharff Law, we help individuals find a brighter future without felony convictions hanging over their heads. No matter the criminal charges you faced, we offer a free consultation to discuss the possibility of expungement in your case.

While certain criminal offenses are usually not eligible for expungement, depending on when you committed the crime, you could be eligible for expungement.

Working through the legal landscape of expungement can be complex and often overwhelming. Scharff Law is dedicated to guiding you through every step of the expungement process, from understanding your eligibility to filing the necessary paperwork.

We believe in personalized legal support, ensuring that your case receives the attention it deserves. Our goal is to make the process as clear and straightforward as possible, allowing you to focus on moving forward with your life.

Understanding the nuances of North Carolina expungement law is crucial, and our experience can make all the difference. Whether you need to determine the specific waiting period for your offense or gather the required documentation, we’re here to provide the support you need.

At Scharff Law, we do more than process legal documents; we help you reclaim your future and open doors to new opportunities.

We invite you to reach out to us for a free expungement consultation. Let’s discuss your situation, explore your options for expungement, and start the journey toward a clean slate. With Scharff Law by your side, a brighter future isn’t just a possibility—it’s within reach. Don’t let past mistakes define your tomorrow.

Contact us today, and let’s take the first step towards turning over a new leaf together.