How Many Expungements Can You Get in NC?
Expungement is the process of removing a criminal charge from an individual’s record and sealing or destroying the public record of the arrest, charge, and/or conviction. A criminal record can present a major roadblock to a person trying to find financial aid, employment, or enlist in military service.
Expungement can essentially remove this obstacle and present a fresh start for an individual who made mistakes in the past. North Carolina recently passed new state laws pertaining to the expungement process that afford more opportunities for record expungement in the state.
New Changes to NC Expungement Law
The North Carolina legislature initiated the new changes to the NC expungement laws to reduce the usual wait time for nonviolent misdemeanor and felony records. The change could potentially allow millions of NC residents to expunge their records faster, opening new opportunities for employment, housing, financial assistance, and other things typically impeded by a criminal record.
- Misdemeanor conviction expungements now require a five-year waiting period instead of a 15-year waiting period.
- Nonviolent felony conviction expungements now require a ten-year waiting period, down from 15 years.
- State law no longer limits how many expungements a person may secure at once. However, multiple expungements are only permissible if the convictions occurred within 12 months of each other.
- Prosecutors and law enforcement officials will retain access to all records.
If you seek a record expungement in NC, you must apply in the courthouse in which you received your conviction. Once you secure an expungement, the expunged record will no longer appear on background checks. However, any unexpunged criminal records will remain on your record and appear on employer background checks.
How Much Does Record Expungement Cost in NC?
The total cost of filing fees to process an expungement request is usually only a few hundred dollars, usually less than $200 depending on the nature of the charge to be expunged. Expungements for not guilty verdicts and overturned convictions do not require a fee.
While the court filing costs may be relatively low, some individuals may require legal assistance to navigate the expungement process, locate and accurately complete required paperwork, and ensure the proper sealing or destruction of records under state law. Attorneys will usually charge by the hour for time spent working on a client’s expungement. The expungement process is long and arduous and even a small misstep could cause a massive delay in an already lengthy process.
How Long Does Record Expungement Take in NC?
An individual seeking record expungement must wait out the required period after a conviction before applying for expungement, and the expungement process itself can take several months to a year or longer before the expungement goes into effect. Regardless of the type of charge in question, an expungement usually takes nine months to a year in North Carolina.
Some individuals with multiple convictions may need to carefully consider how their different convictions affect each other. For example, an individual may need to seek an expungement for one charge before he or she qualifies for expungement of a different, separate charge. Again, an attorney is a very valuable resource in such a situation as the attorney can help determine the appropriate order to seek expungements and potentially include multiple qualifying records into a single expungement process.
Hire an Attorney to Help With Your Expungement
The expungement process in North Carolina may be more generous today than it was in previous years, but it is still a complex, time-consuming process and even slight errors may cause significant delays. Hiring an attorney generally means a much easier time navigating the expungement process.
Contact our office to schedule a free consultation and initial case evaluation with our experienced attorney team.