NC Governor Signs New Expungement Law

New legislation in North Carolina will finally make it easier for citizens to get their criminal record cleared from public view. This can make the lives of a lot of people who has been convicted of nonviolent crimes and easier and much more convenient.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a law on Friday, Aug. 4, that standardizes the process for some people to have their records “expunged,” or to disappear from public view. This makes it easier for people to apply for jobs or avail for higher education. Cooper said criminal justice should aim to end at restoration and not at incarceration. The new law will take effect on Dec. 1 this year.

The law will try to bring more uniformity to the petition that people must use to have their records cleared. For instance, the waiting time for the expungement of a first-time non-violent felony can be reduced from 15 years to 10 years. It also lessens the wait to five years for a nonviolent misdemeanor and eliminates a restriction on someone obtaining multiple expungements if prior charges were dismissed or the person was acquitted in court. The bill will also give prosecutors and law enforcement officers electronic access to records that were expunged. If you have any inquiries about expungements, feel free to contact our Wilmington expungement attorneys.

What is an Expungement?

In general, even if a case is dismissed, a record still remains that can be visible to future employers, current employers, customers, landlords, colleagues, insurers, and anyone else who might be interested in checking your records. This means even if your charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty at trial, the arrest record remains. Once expunged, North Carolina law states that you do not have to say you were arrested, charged, or stood trial for the said offense.

An expungement effectively seals a case that has been dismissed from public view. No future employers, current employers, customers, landlords, colleagues, and insurers can see what you’ve been accused of in the past.

There are various considerations for eligibility on various expungements, all depending on the nature of the case in question. In general, records eligible for expungement in North Carolina are limited to three categories: 1) a first-time, nonviolent offense committed more than 15 years ago; 2) a first-time offense committed under the age of 18 or 22; 3) a charge that was dismissed or disposed “not guilty.”

There is also a different filing fee depending on the kind of expungement you want to take. All cases are unique but can generally take from six to nine months to complete the process. This is because multiple parties have to be involved and coordinate with each other.

Hire a North Carolina Expungement Attorney

Those who are eligible for the process will find it easy and straightforward. If not, you can file for a “certificate of relief” to help you with the problem that the conviction poses. Either way, it’s best to consult with our Wilmington expungement attorneys so we can help you in every step of the way.