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.