If your case was dismissed, you can protect your good name and rebuild your life through Expungement (also known as "Expunction"). Even though your case may have been dismissed, many people will think that where there is smoke, there has been a fire and hold your past accusations against you. After the Expunction is granted, employers, neighbors, customers, insurers, landlords (and just plain nosey people) looking into your background will find no official record of the charges that were expunged. The terms "expungment" and "expunction" are synonymous and can be used interchangeably.
Note that an Expunction seals only the official records kept by government agencies. Private websites and the like may continue to publish their information and may not comply with the court's Expunction Order. If that occurs, there are civil remedies that can be pursued against these private entity publishers.
Is expunction (Expungement) an option in your case? Contact our Charlotte office to arrange a consultation with criminal defense attorney Chris Connelly.
You may be eligible for Expungement if:
- Dismissed cases (including not guilty verdicts)
- Guilty of a misdemeanor committed before the person attained the age of 18 years
- Guilty of a misdemeanor possession of alcohol pursuant to G.S. 18B‑302(b)(1) before the person attained the age of 21 years
- Guilty of misdemeanor larceny pursuant to G.S. 14‑72(a) more than 15 years ago and has no prior felony convictions
- Guilty of a Class H felony under certain "Gang related offenses" of the General Statutes and the offense was committed before the person attained the age of 18 years and they have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions
- Entered plea to certain drug offenses (may include toxic vapors offenses) and the person is discharged and the proceedings dismissed, pursuant to G.S. 90‑96(a) or (a1)
- Convicted of certain non-violent felonies committed before they attained the age of 18 years
- Where charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty as a result of identity theft or pardon is issued
- Guilty of certain nonviolent misdemeanor or felony offenses after 15 years, regardless of age
If you were accused of any crime, a traffic violation, DWI/DUI, Assault, Weapons, White Collar Crimes, Drugs or Domestic Violence but charges were dismissed, then court records, your fingerprints and your mug shot will still be available to the public. Even though your case may have been dismissed, people may hold past accusations against you. You may find it difficult to enroll in professional programs, rent an apartment or find a job. It is extremely important to complete the process of clearing your name through expunction/Expungement.
If your Expunction is granted:
An expunction (also known as Expungement) seals official case records that have been dismissed and expunged from public view. Mr. Connelly will personally oversee the process of Expungement. When it is completed, all official records - Police, Court, Sheriff's department (including Jail mug shot and fingerprints), State Bureau of Investigation and in some instances, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles - will be sealed from the view of the general public. No employees, employers, customers, neighbors, friends, creditors or insurers can see what you have been accused of in the past from these official sources.
Often, the Expunction Order sealing information about your background is complied with by governmental authorities, but private Internet sites still maintain the information. There are many private websites that maintain arrest and prosecution records that are not updated to show dismissals, reductions and/or subsequent expunctions. They will then offer to remove it for a fee. However, do not pay for removal as it merely removes it from that website, not others. Seek an expunction which may then result in an Order signed by the court which can be used to mandate that the official website and all private websites take down your information. The Expunction Order can be served upon them and NC statutes require that the website then remove the information promptly.
NOTE: EVEN THOUGH THE EXPUNCTION ORDER IS SERVED UPON THE PRIVATE WEBSITE PROVIDER, WE CAN NOT GUARANTEE THAT THE PRIVATE WEBSITE PROVIDER WILL COMPLY. CIVIL REMEDIES AGAINST THE PRIVATE WEBSITE PROVIDERS MAY BE SOUGHT UNDER NC LAW.
Expunction of certain felonies
Effective December 1, 2012, a defendant convicted of felonies may expunge that conviction if:
- The offense must be a prescribed nonviolent felony or misdemeanor. Certain offenses are specifically excluded and may NOT be expunged under this statute.
- The expunction must be filed in the county where you were convicted and must be accompanied by consent to a record check.
- Age of the person at the time of the commission of the offense is NOT a factor.
- The petition must be filed more than 15 years after the date of conviction or the completion of any part of the sentence. Restitution must also be complete.
- The petition must contain affidavits of good moral character.
- The person must not have been convicted of any other crime, must have no outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases.
- The person must not have had a previous expunction.
- The district attorney must have the opportunity to contact the victim before the hearing.
If these factors are met, the court MAY, but is not required to, order the expunction of the felony.
Expunction of Certain Drug Offenses after finding of guilty.
A rather convoluted and complicated statute (NCGS 90-96) that intertwines with other equally convoluted and complicated statutes, the law allows for a number of scenarios wherein a guilty plea in a drug case can be dismissed and then expunged. These can include instances where someone who has no prior drug or felony convictions agrees to undergo drug education after they have been found guilty of:
- Certain controlled substance misdemeanors
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
- Drug possession felonies
In addition, NCGS 15A-145.2 allows for first offenders under the age of 21 to expunge certain drug offenses, even if they were convicted of Felony Possession. This expunction must be filed 12 months after the conviction. NCGS 15A-145.2(c)
Contact a Clear Driving Record Attorney regarding Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Gaston cases
Call 704-376-9376 or e-mail our Charlotte office to schedule a consultation about clearing your criminal record through Expungement.
The Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Criminal Defense Attorney
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