If you are not convicted of a criminal offense, found not guilty, it still shows up on the public records. If a case is dismissed it still shows up that you were arrested or you received a citation and the case was dismissed. Then there are some offenses for which you’re found guilty that you can get expunged. What expungement does is it takes the record of the arrest and of the criminal conviction off the public records.
Generally it takes six months to one year. A petition is filed with a clerk of court and it goes through a process where it comes back in front of a judge and the judge either grants or denies the expungement. Here in North Carolina it has been in the past that felonies could not be expunged, but now recently there is a new law that some non-violent low level felonies can now be expunged. Perhaps a felony that you had 15, 20, 30 years ago where you were found guilty can be taken off of your record.
The benefit for expungement is that if it’s not on your public record and you’re not convicted of it, it doesn’t show up for employment purposes for different types of jobs or someone who maybe made a mistake a long time ago and it’s still on their record and they want a clean record.
When you call this law firm and you give us information about your particular criminal case we’re able to tell you over the telephone whether we believe that you would be eligible for an expungement. Then we can do everything over the phone, through email. You do not have to appear even at the hearing. We will not take your money, you will not hire us until we have a good idea that it’s something that you can be successful with.
There are certain statutes, there’s different rules. You may apply under a variety of different statutes depending on your particular circumstance. The process is lengthy and the process is a little complicated. When you’re filling out the paperwork some of them involved affidavit, some of them involved other requirements. They make it difficult for the average citizen to do it themselves.
Different counties are different as far as their clerks and how fast they get the paperwork filed. Then it has to go through a process with a nationwide record search. They make sure that you’ve not had a prior expungement. It goes to the state bureau of investigation, they do a background search. All of those things have to happen and it depends on the particular county clerk’s office and SBI and how many expungement are before you, but we have found that it takes anywhere from six months to a year. We have been surprised at some points where it’s only taken a few months but generally it takes six months to year and that’s what we tell our clients.
Watch the video here.
Learn more about Expungement here.