What is a criminal record expunction in North Carolina?

On Behalf of | Aug 15, 2023 | criminal defense |

One of the biggest challenges that people have to overcome after being convicted of criminal charges is the record maintained by the state. Parties ranging from landlords and educational institutions to current or prospective employers may perform background checks before signing a contract with an individual.

Virtually any criminal conviction will result in a record maintained by the state of North Carolina that members of the public can potentially access. People will often find that a single criminal conviction is enough to limit their educational and employment opportunities and lock them out of affordable housing options. Those with a criminal record in North Carolina may, therefore, benefit from learning about the expunction process.

What is an expunction?

Many people are not familiar with the word expunction, but North Carolina uses it in the same way that other states use the word expungement. Expunction is an official adjustment of someone’s criminal record to remove specific blemishes. Not every individual is eligible for expunction, as only certain scenarios can lead to the removal or sealing of specific records.

North Carolina has rules that allow those who were arrested but not convicted to address the official record of their arrest or the trial that led to their acquittal. Those convicted of criminal offenses as minors may qualify for expunctions. Those convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses may be able to remove the record of their conviction or guilty plea. Certain types of crime where an individual can claim that circumstances limit their culpability, like drug crimes, are also eligible.

Usually, people can only pursue expunction for a single offense, but there are certain scenarios in which people can remove multiple criminal blemishes in a single expunction effort. There are an assortment of rules that apply depending on someone’s criminal record and personal circumstances.

Given that a record can influence everything from financial aid for college to employment opportunities and promotions, making the effort to remove a record from a mistake made years ago is often a worthwhile endeavor for those with a prior arrest or conviction in North Carolina. Exploring the rules about expunction and comparing them with one’s personal history may help someone determine whether they can use the court system to move on from a mistake made years ago.

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