If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina you may be eligible for an expunction (expungement) of your record. Having a criminal record can be a significant barrier to obtaining employment. Even if your charges were dismissed, employers can still see that you were charged with a crime when they run your criminal record. Your prior charges may be giving employers reservations about hiring you!
North Carolina law permits a person that has been charged with a crime in this state to have their record destroyed by a signed Court Order. Expunctions effectively restore an individual’s criminal record to the status that the individual occupied prior to being charged with a crime. That means, except for some limited purposes, you can testify that you have never been charged with a crime. You will no longer have to explain your charges to potential employers.
There are 3 categories that are generally eligible for an expunction in North Carolina: 1)first-time, nonviolent offenses committed more than 15 years ago; 2)first-time offenses committed under the age 18 or 22, depending on the charge; and 3) charges that were dismissed or disposed of by a “not guilty” verdict.
Currently, the expunction process takes approximately 6-7 months to complete. In addition, some expunctions require that a filing fee to paid prior to the expunction being filed with the Clerk of Court.