What is an Expungement?
An expungement erases a case from public view. When the expungement process is completed all records from the Police Department, North Carolina Courts, Sheriff’s Department (including your jail mug shot, photos on the Sheriff’s public website and fingerprints) will be cleared from the view on the general public. No future employers, current employers, customers, landlords, colleges and insurers can see what you have been accused of in the past.
Certain government agencies, including the federal government, may still be able to find your criminal record after expungement but a general check of your record will show nothing. This means that a background check done by your employer or college will usually not disclose any record of arrest or involvement in criminal activity.
Our office handles expungements for almost all counties in North Carolina. Unfortunately, we are unable to handle expungements of charges that are out-of-state or charges at the federal level. To determine if you qualify for an expungement, our office begins with a statewide background check. After review of your background check, one of our attorneys will give you a call and let you know what is eligible for expungement and a quote for your expungement as well.
Call our office at 919-650-2851 to discuss starting the expungement process.
All Cases are Unique
How does the North Carolina Expungement Process Work?
For those who are eligible the process is fairly easy and straight forward. It is unlikely that you will have to appear in court or even come to our office. Once you provide some basic information we will handle the rest.
After gathering preliminary information Granados Law Group will ensure that your expungement is filed with the court and proceeds pursuant to the statutory provisions of North Carolina law. This process requires that your expunction be approved by a number of officials including a judge, district attorney, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Since an expungement requires the coordination of so many different parties, it is often a lengthy process and could require several months to complete. Our law firm will do everything possible to make sure your expungement proceeds as quickly as possible.
Once the judge grants your expungement, your criminal record will be destroyed in all court records as well as in many administrative agencies that hold those records (DMV, Sheriff etc…).
How Long Does it Take?
Not Eligible for an Expungement?
If you’re not eligible for an expungement a “certificate of relief” might help you with the problem that your conviction poses. Call to see how a certificate of relief might help you with the job or license you’re trying to get.
We have included some information below about North Carolina’s certificate-of-relief procedure which was enacted by the General Assembly in 2011. The procedure is patterned after the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act (Uniform Act), enacted in 2009 and amended in 2010 by the Uniform Law Commission. Through the Uniform Act, the Uniform Law Commission recommended that states allow people who have been convicted of a crime to apply for relief from collateral consequences that could impede their reintegration into society. North Carolina’s procedure, in Article 6 of G.S. Chapter 15A (G.S. 15A-173.1 through 15A-173.6), is effective December 1, 2011, meaning that it is available to people with criminal convictions who meet the requirements for relief whether their offenses or convictions occurred before or after December 1, 2011.
The petitioner may obtain a certificate if he or she has been convicted of no more than two Class G, H, or I felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions of any class in one session of court. This language allows a certificate to be obtained for up to two convictions for any combination of the permissible conviction classes (for example, one Class H felony and one misdemeanor or two Class I felonies).
If granted, a certificate of relief applies to two types of collateral consequences: “collateral sanctions,” defined as penalties, disabilities, or disqualifications imposed by operation of law; and “disqualifications,” defined as penalties that an agency, official, or court may impose based on the conviction. In other words, collateral sanctions are those that are mandatory in the absence of a certificate of relief (or other form of relief), while disqualifications are those that a board or commission would have the discretion to impose. A certificate of relief relieves the person of all mandatory collateral sanctions except those listed in G.S. 15A-173.3 (for example, sex offender registration requirements and firearm disqualifications under G.S. Chapter 14, Article 54A (The Felony Firearms Act) and Article 54B (Concealed Handgun Permit)); those imposed by the North Carolina Constitution or federal law (for example, the state constitutional ban on holding the office of sheriff if previously convicted of a felony and federal bans on federally assisted housing and food stamp benefits for some convictions); and those specifically excluded in the certificate. A certificate of relief does not bar an entity from imposing discretionary disqualifications based on the conviction, but the entity may consider the certificate favorably in deciding whether to impose the disqualification. A certificate of relief does not result in an expunction or pardon of the conviction; a person must use other mechanisms to the extent available to obtain those forms of relief.
A certificate of relief also has the effect of limiting the liability of a person who works with someone who received a certificate of relief. G.S. 15A-173.5 provides that a certificate of relief bars a judicial or administrative action alleging lack of due care by a person who, knowing of the certificate of relief, hired, retained, licensed, leased to, admitted to a school or program, or otherwise transacted business or engaged in activity with the recipient of the certificate.