North Carolina Expunctions

North Carolina Expunctions

An expunction is a legal action used to remove or erase items from a person’s criminal record. There are several different types of expunctions in North Carolina, and while many of them only apply in special circumstances there are a few that apply to most everyone. The two most commonly seen expunctions are the expunction of a not guilty or dismissed charge, and the expunction of any non-violent conviction crime.

Most expunctions are procedurally handled very similarly. First, they are filed as a motion in the county and court the original charge came from (i.e. if the crime came from Mecklenburg County the expungement would need to be filed in Mecklenburg County). The defendant becomes the petitioner who files the motion and the court makes a decision on whether or not to grant the motion. After the petitioner files the expunction the court will send the information to the Administrative Office of the Court who will determine if the petitioner and the charge in question qualifies.

The first type of expunction is a charge that was resolved with a not guilty verdict or a charge that was dismissed. Thanks to a recent change in the law, when expunging these kinds of charges, there is no limit to how many different charges can be added to the petition, regardless of when they were disposed of. This allows a petitioner to clear their entire record of dismissals or not guilty verdicts. Finally, it is a requirement the petitioner has never been convicted of a felony. For this type of expunction there are not any additional requirements, the petitioner needs only to file the motion in the appropriate court.

The other type of expunction is the expunction of a guilty conviction. Unlike the expunction of a dismissal, these are limited to those charges that were disposed of in a single session of court. Furthermore, under the current statutory scheme there is a limit of only one expunction of these kinds of charges per person. Another restriction that the law currently places on these kinds of expunctions is that if the petitioner has another conviction on their record, they are not eligible. Lastly, not all convictions can be expunged; only “non-violent” convictions qualify, and the charge cannot be one that involves impaired driving.

When trying to expunge a guilty conviction there are also additional steps that must be taken. First, the petitioner files a petition similar to the previously discussed expunctions, however, this kind of petition must include additional materials in order to be complete.

If you have any questions about expunctions, the expunction process, or whether or not you qualify, please contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our criminal law attorneys. It is now more important than ever to have a clean criminal record for employment and educational background checks.


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