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.

Five Steps to getting a dismissed case expunged in North Carolina

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NC Expungement Information

NC Expungement Information

Important Note:  If your case was dismissed it will NOT be expunged automatically by the courts.  You need to file a petition to have your charges expunged from the system.  If you do not file an expungement petition the record will remain visible forever.  Example: If you were charged with Assault and the case was dismissed – any future employers, schools or housing agencies will see that you were charged with the crime and have questions about it.  It’s never a good first impression in any circumstance.

1.  Find out if you qualify for an expungement.  Contact The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC for a free consultation to determine whether or not you qualify for a North Carolina expungement of your criminal charges.  We will review your records and let you know whether or not you qualify for an expungement.

2.  Confirm that you have not used a dismissal expungement before.  Generally you are only allowed to expunge a dismissed charge one time in North Carolina with some exceptions.  An attorney at our office will explain how this works.  As an example you can have cases expunged if your identity was stolen.

3.   File an Expungement Petition with the Court in the County where your case was dismissed.  An attorney in our office will file an expungement petition on your behalf.  You simply need to make payment to our office and provide some basic information to our office.

4.  Wait approximately 4-6 months for your petition to work its way through the system.  There’s no way to tell exactly how long this will take but on our end all we can do is file the petition with the courts and wait.  All counties take different times to process this sort of paperwork.

5.  Receive your certified expungement petition back from the courts and feel confident knowing that all official records of your charge have been erased.

The Law Offices of Wiley Nickel, PLLC handles expungement petitions for disimissed cases for the entire state of North Carolina.  We handle expungement petitions in all counties including Wake, Durham, Chatham, Orange, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth, Cumberland, New Hanover, Buncombe, Johnston & Harnett.

Contact Expungement Attorney Wiley Nickel at 919-585-1486 or directly by e-mail at wiley@wileynickel.com for a free initial consultation.  Our office is located in Cary, North Carolina and our main website for other legal services is www.wileynickel.com.

How Do Expungements Work in North Carolina?

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My law firm handles a lot of expungement work.  If you have been charged with a crime (or if you know someone who was ever charged with a crime) you should understand the rules for expungements in North Carolina.  There are two important types of expungements out there: (1) expungements for dismissed cases and (2) expungements for that one minor charge on your record that happened a long time ago.                                                                                                     

My case was dismissed.  Is there still a record?

Yes!  Even if your case was dismissed a record remains visible for everyone to see forever unless it is expunged.  There is no procedure to automatically expunge a dismissed case.  The record stays visible forever.  If you were charged with possession of marijuana (or any other charge imaginable) and the case was dismissed there will be a record visible to everyone that says essentially “possession of a schedule VI controlled substance – case dismissed.”  Anyone who sees your record will have immediate questions about why you were charged with possession of a controlled substance.  In the employment context it makes for a horrible first impression for prospective employers.

How does it work to expunge a dismissed case?

Generally, everyone in North Carolina can have any dismissed case (or not guilty verdict) expunged once in their lifetime.  You can pretty much get rid of anything you want as long as the case was dismissed or you were found not-guilty.  You file a petition and after around six months the records are erased.

I just had that one stupid crime and it’s been a long time…

If you pled guilty to one minor crime or were found guilty of one minor crime and it’s been 15 years without another charge then you may be eligible to have the criminal record expunged.  The North Carolina Legislature has essentially said that if you have one minor criminal charge on your record and have stayed out of trouble for fifteen years then you can apply for an expungement of that charge.

How does it work to get rid of that old conviction?

You need to provide some affidavits and affidavits from people who will attest to your good moral character in addition to the expungement petition. If you qualify for an expungement of that old criminal conviction there is a good possibility you can have the charge erased.

What is the effect of an expungement?

An order granting a petition for an expungement has two basic effects. One, it requires deletion of records about the case. Two, it seeks to restore the petitioner to the status he or she had before the criminal proceedings occurred.  The deletion requirement applies to North Carolina’s courts, state and local law enforcement agencies, other government agencies, and certain organizations in the business of providing criminal history information.  The expunction statutes express in various ways the principle that an expunction restores a person’s status as if the proceeding had not occurred. Most expunction statutes state this principle explicitly. Most also state that a person who receives an expunction may not thereafter be held under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury for failing to acknowledge the expunged criminal proceedings.

How do I move forward with an expungement?

There are dozens of other ways to have charges expunged.  A lot of good options are available for charges that happened when the petitioner was 21 and younger.  If you would like a free consultation about whether you qualify for an expungement or if you would like to know whether someone else qualifies for an expungement then please contact my law office at 919-948-7159.  You can speak to an expungement lawyer who will walk you through the process and explain your options.

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