What is an expunction?
An expunction is a court order which removes all information from a criminal record. You may deny, even under oath, that you were arrested, charged, or tried, so long as the record of it has been expunged. However, many professional licensing boards and graduate schools may require that you disclose expunged records.
Types Of Expunctions In North Carolina
North Carolina law provides for five (5) types of expunctions:
- Any person under the age of 18 who has not ever been convicted of any crime (other than a traffic violation) who is convicted of a misdemeanor (other than a traffic violation) may petition the court, no sooner than two years later, for an expunction of that charge.
- In addition, effective December 1999, any person who, while under the age of 21, pleads guilty to or is convicted of misdemeanor underage possession or purchase of a malt beverages may likewise petition the court, no sooner than two years later, for an expunction. This is allowed only if you have never been convicted of any other crime, excluding minor traffic violations, or obtained a prior expunction. You must file affidavits proving good character and the absence of other offenses, together with a State Bureau of Investigation Criminal History Request. You may be over 18 or 21, respectively, when you petition the court for the expunction.
- There is also a special expunction provision for certain first offense misdemeanor drug offenses. There are special conditions of participation in drug education programs which may be required before such charges may be expunged, and more affidavits showing character are needed, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation Criminal History Request Form. You must have been under 21 at the time of the drug offense.
- In 2001, the General Assembly enacted an expunction provision to apply to situations where a person is charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony as a result of identity theft. This law applies to both traffic violations and criminal offenses. If your identity was used without your permission and your charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty, you may petition the court for an expunction.
- The most commonly available form of expunction is available to anyone, simply upon the filing of a petition and a State Bureau of Investigation Criminal History Request. Any person, regardless of age, may obtain an expunction of a criminal charge so long as you have not been previously convicted of a felony and so long as the charge was either dismissed or you were found not guilty and you have never had a prior expunction of any other charges. In addition, any person who while 19 or 20 years of age was charged with the infraction of underage possession or purchase of alcohol before December 1, 1999 and the charge was dismissed or found not guilty may likewise petition the court for an expunction. You may not have been previously convicted of a felony or had an expunction of any other charge.
How To Expunge A Criminal Record
If you qualify for our services, a Carolina Student Legal Services, Inc. attorney will represent you in an expunction proceeding in Orange County and contiguous counties. If you are charged in a county where Carolina Student Legal Services, Inc. cannot represent you, we are available to advise you about whether you meet the requirements to get your record expunged and about the necessary procedures you must follow.
Verified June 2011
From the Bureau of Consumer Protection, “Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know”
From the Federal Trade Commission, “Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know”