One question we often get from clients after getting their cases dismissed is, how will this affect my record? Will a background check reveal 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. The follow up question, then, is if my case was dismissed or I was acquitted, how do I remove a dismissed case from my record 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– essentially creating a clean slate. For North Carolina residents, the possibility of pursuing expungement has recently expanded. NC has now extended and lessened some of the standards which were required to get an expungement.
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 acquitted in court can apply for multiple expungements.
As reported by The News & Observer, Governor Cooper said, “Criminal justice shouldn’t end at incarceration. It should end at restoration. We want North Carolinians who have corrected their mistakes to go on to live purposeful, productive lives.”
Petitioning for an expungement can seem easy but filing the proper form in the proper county can make all the difference. 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 can make all the difference to getting your expungement approved.
Expungements are filed with the Criminal District Court Clerks and usually take between 7-10 months to be returned. If there are errors in the petition, the expungement will be rejected and the process must be restarted. Since an expungement could have lasting impacts on someone’s future regarding employment applications, lease applications, background checks, or even dating, it is crucial to ensure the process is successful.
The best bet is to consult an attorney to understand what exactly might be eligible for expungement, what to expect during the process, and to ensure the paperwork is completed fully and accurately. Our criminal defense team works to help clients who are eligible attain a clean slate so they can confidently face whatever the future holds.
If you need to have a charge, arrest, or conviction dropped from your permanent record, make sure to contact us.