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What is a North Carolina Expungement?

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What is an Expungement in North Carolina?

A North Carolina criminal expungement is a legal process that petitions the Court to remove a criminal conviction or a criminal charge from a person’s record and to destroy the state’s records of the arrest, charge, and/or conviction. A person who has had an expunction granted generally cannot be found guilty of perjury if he or she denies that the arrest, charge, or conviction ever happened.  The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC is a North Carolina Expungement focused law firm and we handle NC expungement petitions in most of the state.

What is the difference between an “expunction” and “expungement”?

“Expunction” and “expungement” mean the same thing. North Carolina’s expunction statutes use both terms interchangeably.  People also talk about sealing a record and the effect is the same for North Carolina expungement purposes.  . If you are granted an expungement, a court order will be entered ordering law enforcement to erase or destroy your criminal record. Specifically, North Carolina’s law makes it clear that the purpose of an expungement is to clear your public record of any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction.

Who is eligible for an expunction?

There are numerous expunction statutes in North Carolina. Some allow the expunction of only specific types of offenses, like drug possession. Other statutes allow expunction of a broader range of offenses but for a smaller group of people, like persons who were under 18 or 21 at the time of the offense. Still others depend on how the charge ended; for example, there are statutes that address expunction of convictions and statutes that address expunction of charges that were dismissed or for which the defendant was found not guilty.  The dismissal or “nut guilty” expungement petitions are far and away the most common type of expungement in North Carolina.  Many people are eligible for expungements for their dismissed cases and do not know it.

Who Qualifies for an Expungement in North Carolina?

While you now have an idea of what an expungement is and how it may benefit you, let’s look at who qualifies for an expungement. While people often think that having an arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction expunged is an absolute right, the truth is that criminal records eligible for expungement in North Carolina are more common for dismissals and less common for convictions. In fact, to be eligible for an expunction you must meet the requirements listed under the statute applicable to your scenario.

 

Common Terms:

Background check – a procedure now almost universally in place wherein employers, schools, and landlords check for criminal history for applicants. Since about 1990 almost all criminal convictions are available electronically and are very easily discovered in a background check.

Cleaning a Record – another term used interchangeably with expungement or clearing a record, meaning essentially the same thing.

Court Appearance – some counties require expungements to occur in open court where there is an appearance by the attorney and the prosecutor in front of the judge. In the vast majority of the cases we handle the client never needs to appear in court.

Court Order – the document showing that an expungement has been completed.  All of our clients receive official court documentation with a raised seal proving that the expungement has occurred.

Criminal Record – court and governmental databases maintain records of criminal offenses. These records are maintained pretty much indefinitely and until an expungement occurs, a record check will continue to return a criminal conviction for decades unless the charge is erased through the expungement process.  In addition to fines, probation, and jail time, a criminal record can often be a barrier to things such as gainful employment, affordable housing, professional licensing, voting rights, welfare benefits, student loans, jury duty, and immigration status.

Diversion – this is a procedure for first offenders in drug cases and other cases to have criminal proceedings suspended, be sent to a counseling or training program, and after a period of time having the case dismissed without conviction. This is an excellent program, but unfortunately the record of the charge is still public and must be expunged in order to remove it from the view of the public and potential employers.

Eligibility for Expungement – Not everyone is eligible for an expungement of their criminal record. The law is complex and we are happy to provide a free telephone consultation to determine your eligibility; on-line eligibility quizzes have inherent shortcomings.

Eligible for Expungement – when a person is able to petition the court for expungement of their criminal convictions and also public records of a dismissal or not guilty verdict

Expungement – a legal proceeding that allows a criminal conviction or dismissed criminal case to be set aside and all public records erased.

Felony – a serious crime punishable by up to life in prison, although probation is often granted for first offenders. Most low level felonies can be expunged for certain eligible offenders.

Expungement Filing Fee or Expungement Court Costs – this is the amount of money the court charges to process an expungement petition; it is usually $175 for both felony and misdemeanor cases.  Some type of expungements do not require an expungement filing fee/court costs and some individuals may be able to petition the courts to avoid their fees.

Fines and Fees-costs associated with a criminal conviction; fines are payable to the court or often to the probation department or other agencies for anger management classes, alcohol education programs, or the like.

Firearms Rights-a person convicted of a felony offense, or a certain number of enumerated misdemeanors in North Carolina, lose their right to possess a firearm. An expungement itself does not reinstate that right, however firearms rights can be reinstated by reduction of the felony to a misdemeanor in certain circumstances.

Governor’s Pardon -a procedure where the governor of the state of North Carolina issues an official pardon for an individual convicted of a felony offense.

Infraction -a low level of criminal offense punishable only by a fine.

Legal Assistant – an individual that is not licensed to practice law but fills forms and does other tasks related to the practice of law at the supervision of an attorney.

Misdemeanor -a criminal offense punishable by up to 150 days in jail. Offenses such as larceny, drug possession and similar cases are misdemeanors. Most misdemeanors can be expunged.

On-line Record Check – dozens of Internet sites make available criminal record background checks. Our experience is that most of these sites are highly inaccurate and should not be relied upon. The most accurate way to check one’s record is to contact the court directly or hire an attorney to provide a thorough background check.  Our law firm has access to all court records through the AOC and can provide accurate background checks as part of the expungement process.

Probation – a period of time following a criminal conviction were a person is still under the supervision of either the probation department, or the court. There is formal and informal probation, formal probation or supervised probation involves reporting to the probation department, informal probation or unsupervised probation has no reporting requirement.

Probation Violation – (commonly “PV”) when an individual fails to live up to their terms and conditions of probation, such as failure to pay a fine, complete a school, or complete community service.

Reduction – a procedure where a felony charge is reduced to a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina.  One may have been charged with a felony but only pled to a misdemeanor in court.  For many people it is important to get rid of the felony charge in the expungement process.

Sealing Arrest Records – if you are arrested and not charged, or the case was dismissed, you may be able to seal records of that arrest through the expungement process.

Sex Registration – persons convicted of certain offenses related to sexual conduct are required to register with the local police agency.

Class 3 Misdemeanors in North Carolina – You could be sentenced to 1 to 30 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment. The maximum penalty would be 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.

Class 2 Misdemeanors in North Carolina – The sentence for a Class 2 misdemeanor is 1 to 60 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment, with the maximum penalty being 60 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

Class 1 Misdemeanors in North Carolina– The sentencing range is 1 to 120 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment. The maximum jail time you could face would be 120 days. There is no maximum fine that could be assessed. This is completely in the judge’s discretion.

Class A1 Misdemeanors in North Carolina – You could be sentenced to 1 to 150 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment, with a maximum jail sentence of 150 days. Like with a Class 1 misdemeanor, the judge would have complete discretion on the amount of the fine you could have to pay.

Active Punishment – Active punishment involves a jail sentence that you would serve in a local jail or other confinement facility.

Intermediate Punishment – You could face an intermediate punishment if the judge sentences you to supervised probation. Terms of your probation could include house arrest with electronic monitoring, drug treatment court, satellite based monitoring, and some small periods of time in a jail or other confinement facility.

Community Punishment – Community punishment does not include jail time. You would most likely face a fine, possible probation, or community service.

If you were charged or convicted of a crime in North Carolina contact North Carolina Expungement Lawyers Wiley Nickel & Melissa Botiglione at 919-585-1486 for a free consultation. Our office is located in Cary and we conver most of the entire state of North Carolina for expungements.

Your case is over but your record remains visible for all to see!

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If your case was dismissed, you can protect your reputation and rebuild your life through the process of Expunging your North Carolina criminal record (also called Expunction).  Even if your case was dismissed a record still remains that is visible to future employers, current employers, customers, landlords, colleges, insurers and anyone else who might do a check on your record.

If you worked with your attorney to negotiate a dismissal of your criminal charge or are found not guilty at trial your criminal arrest record will still remain.  Even if you get a voluntary dismissal the original criminal charge will always be on your record.  If your record is expunged then all searches of your record will show a clean criminal record and a clean public arrest record.  Contact NC Expungement Lawyer Melissa Botiglione for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for a North Carolina Expungement.

Why do you need a North Carolina Expungement? 

As soon as an Expungement has been granted North Carolina law states that you do not have to say you were ever arrested, charged or stood trial for the Expunged offense.  Read this very closely!  Under North Carolina Law: “no person as to whom such an order has been entered… shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury, or to be guilty of otherwise giving a false statement or response to any inquiry made for any purpose, by reason of the person’s failure to recite or acknowledge any expunged entries concerning apprehension, charge, or trial.”

Expungement when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty.

Expunction of records when the case is dismissed or there are findings of not guilty. – N.C. G.S. 15A-146

N.C. G.S. 15A-146 provides for expungement of charges in cases that were either dismissed or where a person was found not guilty.  The person cannot have any felony convictions on their record.  An individual is only allowed to use this kind of expungement as many times as they want since the law changed on December 1, 2017.  This is a great Expungement to use if your cases was dismissed under N.C. G.S. 90-96 (Conditional Discharge of First Time Drug Offenders).

Expungements Under 15A-146

  • Am I eligible? You can us a dismissal expungement as many times as you want under current law as long as you don’t have an active case or a felony conviction. Ask our law office for a free case evaluation and we’ll tell you if you’re eligible or not.
  • When are you eligible? Any age.
  • Fees? No filing fees for most dismissed case. A filing fee of $175 for court costs applies when the case is dismissed as a result of a formal deferral program where a judge has signed the deferral contract (i.e. 90/96).
  • Link to statute

    Call 1 (919) 585-1486 for a free consultation with North Carolina Expungement Lawyers Wiley Nickel & Melissa Botiglione.  If you do not qualify for an expungement you may qualify for a Certificate of Relief.

     

Criminal Diversion Programs in North Carolina – Know Your Options – Raleigh Expungement Lawyer

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Criminal Diversion Programs in North Carolina Can Lead to An Expungement

A criminal record is life-changing, and can compromise housing applications, gainful employment prospects, college admissions, and student loans, among other things. These difficulties impair convicted offenders’ abilities to become productive members of society and certainly make it harder to find a job.

Are you eligible for a criminal deferral program?

Enter criminal diversion programs. These valuable programs, usually geared towards first-time offenders, rehabilitate defendants, allowing them avoid a conviction upon successful completion of the program.

Adult Diversion Programs

There are a number of adult diversion programs available in North Carolina for minor or first-time offenses. Most programs are geared towards drug and alcohol offenses, but informal programs are available for other types of minor offenses as well.  Our Expungement Lawyer can explain the options.

Conditional Discharge 90/96 Program

North Carolina G.S. 90-96 allows for a dismissal of drug cases for defendants charged of certain first-time drug offenses, including possession of controlled substances or paraphernalia. To quality for this program, defendants must not have any prior drug convictions or other felony convictions.

Under this program, defendants are sometimes required to perform community service, pay court costs and fines, and complete a drug abuse assessment program and the required drug classes. If defendants complete these requirements within the approved time period and stay out of trouble the case will be dismissed.

Felony Drug Diversion Program

Defendants facing first-time felony drug charges may be eligible to participate in the felony drug diversion program. This program is much more extensive, and lasts a full year.

Defendants are required to sign an admission of guilt, submit to random drug tests, complete 225 hours of community service, meet monthly with a case manager, remain in school or employed, and avoid criminal convictions of any kind. Upon successful completion, the case will be dismissed.

Informal First Offender Programs

An informal first-time offender program may be an option for other first-time low-level offenses such as shoplifting. In this case, your defense attorney would make a deal with the Assistant District Attorney managing your case. These programs vary on a case-by-case basis, but often include restitution, community service, court fees, and potentially counseling. In Wake County these diversion programs usually involve 75 hours of community service.

Teen Court

In Wake County there is an option for some to do teen court to complete community service and participate in mock court sessions with other youthful offenders.

Expungement

For many the goal is an expungement to clear all of your criminal records once the case is dismissed.  We can talk to you about your eligibility for a North Carolina expungement when/if the case is dismissed.

Contact a North Carolina Diversion Lawyer

If you are charged with a crime in Wake County, North Carolina you can contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel for a free consultation.  You may be able to enter into a deal that would lead to a dismissal of your case.  You can reach a Raleigh Expungeement Lawyer at 919-948-7159 to talk about your possible options for a dismissal deal and then an expungement.

How Do I Remove a Dismissed Criminal Case From My Record in North Carolina?

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A big question we often get from clients after getting their case is dismissed is “how will it affect my record?” Will a background check reveal that I was arrested? Will the charges show up when I go to rent property? The short answer is usually yes, the arrest and charges would still appear unless you get an expungement.

Expungement of Dismissed Cases in NC

Expungement is a way to remove convictions or dismissed cases from your record so that future background checks won’t display any arrests or charges. For North Carolina residents, the possibility of pursuing expungement has recently changed in a good way. North Carolina has recently made it much easier to get dismissed cases removed from your record through the expunction process.

Governor Roy Cooper signed a new expungement law, which took effect on December 1, 2017. This new law cuts down the wait time for non-violent misdemeanor and felony convictions. Misdemeanor conviction wait times have been reduced from 15 years to 5. Felony convictions from 15 years to 10. The new law has also lifted the limit of one expungement when the defendant’s charges were dismissed or they were acquitted. Now if the defendants whose charges are dismissed or who were found “not guilty” can apply for as many expungements as they want (assuming no felony convictions or active criminal cases).

Petitioning for an expungement can seem easy but it has a number of steps and involves a good amount of specific clerical work. The petition must be filed in the county where the charges took place. Also, the expungement process is a lengthy one so properly filling out and filing the paperwork is very important as a small mistake could mean your petition gets denied and you have to start again from scratch (having lost tons of time).

If you have a dismissed case or a not guilty verdict on your record contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free North Carolina expungement consultation.  Our office is located in Cary, NC and we handle expungements throughout North Carolina. Our phone number is 919-585-1486.  Contact a North Carolina Expungement Lawyer today to discuss your case.

How Does the Expungement Process Work in North Carolina?

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Step #1: Determining Eligibility

Are you eligible for an expungement? There are different rules for dismissed cases and convictions.  For dismissed cases there is now no limit on the amount of dismissed cases and not guilty cases you can get erased through the expungement process (as long as you don’t have a felony conviction or an active criminal case).  For convictions there are certain crimes that are not eligible for expungement and there are different rules for those under 18 at the time of offense, under 22 for certain crimes and then a 5/10 year wait for felony charges (10) and misdemeanors (5).  We generally need to pull court records to confirm whether you are eligible.

Step #2: Filing the Petition

Once we determine whether you are eligible for an expungement, we will file a petition for expunction in the clerk’s office in the county where you were charged.  You may need to sign affidavits and get character witnesses to do the same.  There may or may not be court costs of $175 depending on the type of expungement.

Step #3: Review by the SBI (North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation)

Following an initial signature by a judge or district attorney (if required) the petition is then mailed to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI).  The SBI will conduct a search of the criminal records of North Carolina. Any records discovered will be attached to the petition and mailed to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).  After reviewing the petition for any prior expungements by petitioner, the AOC attaches another report of its findings and sends it back to the clerk of court of the county where the petition was originally filed. This part of the process can take several months.

Step #4: Final Judgment by the Court

Once the petition is returned to the courthouse a judge makes a final determination based on the petition and information provided by the SBI and AOC. A this point the judge may sign the order granting the expungement without a formal hearing. However, if there is a question as to the applicant’s eligibility or if the district attorney has an objection, then a formal hearing could be required.  Following that hearing, the court will either grant or deny the expungement petition.

Step #5: Removal of Expunged Records

Upon the granting of the expungement petition, the clerk of court is statutorily required to send notice of the expunction to all of the relevant agencies that have information about your case.  They are then required to eliminate those records from the system after they’ve received notice.

If you have a criminal record (conviction or dismissed case) contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC to speak with an expungement lawyer during a free consultation.  We can be reached at 919-585-1486.

 

North Carolina Expungement Lawyer Explains Expungement Process

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Are you eligible for a North Carolina Expungement?

Your case is over but your record remains visible for all to see! If your case was dismissed (or you have certain convictions), you can protect your reputation and rebuild your life through the process of Expunging your North Carolina criminal record (also called Expunction).  Even if your case was dismissed a record still remains that is visible to future employers, current employers, customers, landlords, colleges, insurers and anyone else who might do a check on your record.

If you worked with your attorney to negotiate a dismissal of your criminal charge or are found not guilty at trial your criminal arrest record will still remain.  Even if you get a voluntary dismissal the original criminal charge will always be on your record.  If your record is expunged then all searches of your record will show a clean criminal record and a clean public arrest record.

A new law change allows for certain misdemeanor convictions to be expunged after 5 years and certain felony convictions to be erased through the expungement process after 10 years have passed.

Call The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation at 919-585-1486 to see if you are eligible for a North Carolina Expungement. Contact Expungement Lawyer Melissa Botiglione at our office in Cary today.

How Many Different Expungements Can You Get in North Carolina?

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How To Get Your Criminal Record Expunged: Can You Get Multiple Expungements in North Carolina over a lifetime?

You can get as many expungements as the law allows.  Some types expungements bar you from getting certain other types of expungement in the future and for other situations there could be multiple expungements allowed.  It’s all very fact specific.

Certain Convictions under 18 and Certain Drinking Tickets under 21

Many can get an NC expungement of a misdemeanor conviction for an offense committed before the age 18 plus certain drinking tickets before age 21.  That expungement statute does not list a prior expungement as a bar to getting one.

Dismissal/Not Guilty Expungements

In many cases you can’t get a dismissal expungement if you’ve had certain other types of expungements.  If you have a misdemeanor conviction on your record and want to get an expungement for a dismissed case that conviction likely does not bar you from a dismissal expungement.  For many clients the order of using their expungements is very important and if there are multiple things going on you could limit the possibilities for expungements if you do them in the wring order.

15 Year Wait Expungements

For many clients their public records can be erased through the expungement process for one misdemeanor or low level felony after 15 years have passed (assuming it’s the only criminal conviction on their record).  In that situation most other prior expungements could block them from the 15 year wait kind of expungement.  An expunction of a dismissal is the one type of expungement that is not listed as a bar to getting the 15 year type.

What Next?

A prior expungement generally makes it difficult for a person to get an expungement more than once. However there is not a rule that allows only one expungement for all scenarios. The terms of each statute control whether a person can obtain another expungement. North Carolina law creates a narrow path to additional expungements in many situations.  All cases are different.  If you have questions about getting a second expungement contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC at 919-585-1486 for a free consultation.  Our NC Expungements Lawyers will answer your questions and let you know if we can expunge criminal records for you.

NC Expungement Information

A great Op-Ed from the Raleigh News & Observer – Help for those with North Carolina criminal records.

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A link for a great Op-Ed from the News & Observer.  Text below.

“N.C. bill would help those with criminal records

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article150219672.html#storylink=cpy
If you are interested in learning more about the expungement process in North Carolina hit this link to learn more about what crimes are eligible for a North Carolina expungement.

The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC Earns BBB Accreditation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 17, 2017

The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel is Committed to BBB’s Standards for Trust

This week, The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel announced its recent accreditation by Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina. As a BBB Accredited Business, The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel is dedicated to promoting trust in the marketplace.

“We are proud to have met BBB’s high standards and we are excited to be part of an organization that exists so consumers and businesses alike have an unbiased source to guide them on matters of trust,” said Raleigh Attorney Wiley Nickel. “BBB Accreditation gives our customers confidence in our commitment to maintaining high ethical standards of conduct.”

BBB Accredited Businesses must adhere to BBB’s “Standards for Trust,” a comprehensive set of policies, procedures and best practices representing trustworthiness in the marketplace. The standards call for building trust, embodying integrity, advertising honestly, telling the truth, being transparent, honoring promises, being responsive and safeguarding privacy.

When dealing with a BBB Accredited Business the consumer has peace of mind knowing that they are dealing with an honest organization that is accountable to its clients.

For additional information regarding BBB Accreditation, visit easternnc.bbb.org.

 

About The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC:

“When your future and reputation are at stake, an experienced Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyer makes your rights a priority.”

As a former Deputy District Attorney Wiley Nickel has the experience that matters most.  With a practice based on trust, respect, discretion and professionalism, Raleigh Criminal Lawyer Wiley Nickel helps his clients avoid the dire consequences of criminal charges.

As a Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney, Wiley focuses on Wake County Misdemeanor charges and Raleigh DWI/DUI offenses.  A DWI or other criminal charge can have a profound effect on your life and financial situation, and the right Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorney makes all the difference.  Fighting traffic tickets, which may negatively impact your record and lead to huge increases for your car insurance, is another way Wiley defends every aspect of your rights.

Wiley Nickel and Associate Attorney Kristi Haddock focus on Raleigh Criminal Defense, Family Law, Wake County Traffic Tickets and Epxungements from their Offices in Cary and Apex.  Contact The law Offices of Wiley Nickel when you need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney, Marijuana Defense Lawyer, DWI Lawyer in the cities of Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs and Fuquay Varina.  Defending your rights is our main priority.

About BBB serving Eastern North Carolina:

Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,000 local businesses and professional firms. BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by BBB include reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, consumer/business education programs and dispute resolution services. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit bbb.org.