A criminal conviction can negatively impact an individual's life in numerous and often unexpected ways. From a misdemeanor drug charge related to possession of marijuana to felony charges related to financial fraud, individuals facing criminal charges would be wise to turn to a legal defense attorney for advice and assistance.
In cases where an individual was found not guilty of criminal charges or was convicted of and carried out the terms of a sentence including possible fines and penalties, jail or prison time and probation; a criminal record still exists. In some cases, however, an individual may be able to have a criminal record expunged or essentially wiped clean of any record of all or certain criminal charges.
In North Carolina, only certain individuals and criminal charges are eligible for consideration of an expunction. For example an individual who was found not guilty of certain criminal charges may be able to seek an expunction. Additionally, young offenders who were convicted under the age of 22 or 18, depending on the charges, may be eligible for an expunction. Likewise, in cases where an individual was convicted of a first-time nonviolent offense 15 or more years ago, he or she may also be able to have criminal charges expunged.
Having a criminal record can negatively impact an individual's ability to attend college, obtain a job and find housing. An individual should not, however, continue to be punished and limited due to criminal charges of which he or she was found not guilty or due to mistakes that were made many years ago or while an individual was very young.
The process of trying to obtain an expunction is complex. Therefore, individuals who want to obtain an expunction in North Carolina would be wise to contact a criminal defense attorney.
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 in any official governmental database.
Source: North Carolina Justice Center, "Summary of NC Expunctions 2014," 2014