Greensboro Expungement Attorney
Expunction is a procedure by which a person obtains a court order to expunge the record of prior proceedings against him or her. In North Carolina, an expunction means that paper and electronic records of the proceedings are deleted or destroyed with limited exceptions. The right to obtain an expunction depends on North Carolina statutes. If no statute authorizes an expunction of a conviction, a person generally has no right to one.
NOTE: Starting December 1, 2021, all charges ending in a dismissal or acquittal will be automatically expunged
What kinds of crimes can be expunged? Class H and I felonies and Class 1, 2, or 3 misdemeanors.
What must you show? That the matter to be expunged is covered under an applicable statute and that you meet the preconditions (e.g., no prior convictions of certain offenses or no prior expunctions under certain statutes).
What is the process for obtaining an expunction? Your attorney will begin by finding the correct AOC form for expunging your specific charge. You (or your attorney) must then fill out the proper form and get a judge to sign it.
In some cases, for example, if your expunction petition is for a conviction in a case of identity theft or mistaken identity, a drug-related conviction, or a toxic vapors conviction, a hearing before a judge is required before he or she will sign the petition.
Additionally, in some cases, you will be required to file affidavits attesting to your good character. There may also be a waiting period before you can attempt to have something expunged.
Generally, expunctions need to be filed where the conviction occurred (in the case of a conviction) or where the charge was brought (in the case of a dismissal).
$175 filing fee except: prostitution offenses, human trafficking victims, identity theft and mistaken identity, DNA records, or pardons OR if you fill out an affidavit of indigency (meaning you affirm under penalty of perjury that you cannot pay it)
Dismissals, diversions, and other dispositions that do not constitute a conviction
Voluntary Dismissals – no filing fee
Deferred Dismissals – $175
Once signed, you (or your attorney) will file the petition with the clerk of court in the same county. The petition will be sent to the SBI in Raleigh, where they will perform a background check to see if you have any prior criminal convictions that would affect your eligibility for expunction (unless the expunction is for a dismissal, in which case there is no background check).
Generally, after the SBI has completed their check, the clerk’s office will mail you (and/or your attorney) a certified copy of the expunction petition.
Expunctions are primarily done for criminal charges. Under limited circumstances, however, it is possible to expunge civil records. These circumstances include:
- Records of mental health admission or commitment that occurred when the person was a minor (NC Civil Commitment Manual §12.6)
- “Responsible person” list of individuals found by a county DSS to have abused or seriously neglected a child (Abuse, Neglect, Dependency, and Termination of Parental Rights Proceedings in North Carolina §5.2B.4)
- Other statutes, e.g., G.S. 20-13.2(c1) (expunction of revocation of a driver’s license or permit due to ineligibility for a driving eligibility certificate under G.S. 20-11(n)(1) (concerning high school attendance)); G.S. 115C-402 (expunction of school suspension or expulsion); G.S. 115C-109.3 (expunction of incorrect information about student with disability).
There are plenty of opportunities to “clean up” your record. The State of North Carolina has permitted the total destruction of any records associated with your court proceedings under certain circumstances, allowing you to truthfully state that you have not been convicted of a crime. Once a charge or conviction is expunged, it can still be used in future criminal proceedings against you, but it will not show up on any conventional record check.
To see if you are eligible to have past mistakes corrected, contact us at 336-992-3600.