Can a Greensboro DWI lawyer expunge a DWI? It depends.
In 2015, the North Carolina legislature passed a law forbidding DWI expungements if the case resulted in a conviction. This is blatantly unfair, as every other non-violent misdemeanor crime conviction may be expunged from a person’s record after a certain amount of time has passed.
However, if a DWI case has been resolved by a “Not Guilty” or a dismissal, it may still be expunged.
The relevant law that a Greensboro DWI lawyer will speak to you about is NCGS 15A-145.5. – Expunction of certain misdemeanors and felonies; no age limitation.
The statute reads as follows:
(a) For purposes of this section, the term “nonviolent misdemeanor” or “nonviolent felony” means any misdemeanor or felony except the following:
(1) A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor.
(2) An offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.
(3) An offense requiring registration pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, whether or not the person is currently required to register.
(4) Any of the following sex-related or stalking offenses: G.S. 14-27.25(b), 14-27.30(b), 14-190.7, 14-190.8, 14-190.9, 14-202, 14-208.11A, 14-208.18, 14-277.3, 14-277.3A, 14-321.1.
(5) Any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the General Statutes where the offense involves methamphetamines, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver or sell and deliver cocaine.
(6) An offense under G.S. 14-12.12(b), 14-12.13, or 14-12.14, or any offense for which punishment was determined pursuant to G.S. 14-3(c).
(7) An offense under G.S. 14-401.16.
(7a) An offense under G.S. 14-54(a), 14-54(a1), or 14-56.
(8) Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the offense.
(8a) An offense involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a).
(9) Any offense that is an attempt to commit an offense described in subdivisions (1) through (8a) of this subsection.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, if the person is convicted of more than one nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor in the same session of court and none of the nonviolent felonies or nonviolent misdemeanors are alleged to have occurred after the person had already been served with criminal process for the commission of a nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor, then the multiple nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor convictions shall be treated as one nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor conviction under this section, and the expunction order issued under this section shall provide that the multiple nonviolent felony convictions or nonviolent misdemeanor convictions shall be expunged from the person’s record in accordance with this section.
(c) A person may file a petition, in the court of the county where the person was convicted, for expunction of a nonviolent misdemeanor or nonviolent felony conviction from the person’s criminal record if the person has no other misdemeanor or felony convictions, other than a traffic violation. The petition shall not be filed earlier than 10 years after the date of the conviction for a nonviolent felony or five years for a nonviolent misdemeanor or when any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later. The petition shall contain, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) An affidavit by the petitioner that the petitioner has been of good moral character since the date of conviction for the nonviolent misdemeanor or nonviolent felony and has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor, other than a traffic violation, under the laws of the United States or the laws of this State or any other state.
(2) Verified affidavits of two persons who are not related to the petitioner or to each other by blood or marriage, that they know the character and reputation of the petitioner in the community in which the petitioner lives and that the petitioner’s character and reputation are good.
(3) A statement that the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted.
(4) An application on a form approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts requesting and authorizing a name-based State and national criminal history record check by the Department of Public Safety using any information required by the Administrative Office of the Courts to identify the individual, a search by the Department of Public Safety for any outstanding warrants on pending criminal cases, and a search of the confidential record of expunctions maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The application shall be filed with the clerk of superior court. The clerk of superior court shall forward the application to the Department of Public Safety and to the Administrative Office of the Courts, which shall conduct the searches and report their findings to the court.
(5) An affidavit by the petitioner that no restitution orders or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution entered against the petitioner are outstanding.
Upon filing of the petition, the petition shall be served upon the district attorney of the court wherein the case was tried resulting in conviction. The district attorney shall have 30 days thereafter in which to file any objection thereto and shall be duly notified as to the date of the hearing of the petition. Upon good cause shown, the court may grant the district attorney an additional 30 days to file objection to the petition. The district attorney shall make his or her best efforts to contact the victim, if any, to notify the victim of the request for expunction prior to the date of the hearing.
The presiding judge is authorized to call upon a probation officer for any additional investigation or verification of the petitioner’s conduct since the conviction. The court shall review any other information the court deems relevant, including, but not limited to, affidavits or other testimony provided by law enforcement officers, district attorneys, and victims of crimes committed by the petitioner.
If the court, after hearing, finds that the petitioner has not previously been granted an expunction under this section, G.S. 15A-145, 15A-145.1, 15A-145.2, 15A-145.3, or 15A-145.4; the petitioner has remained of good moral character; the petitioner has no outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases; the petitioner has no other felony or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation; the petitioner has no outstanding restitution orders or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution entered against the petitioner; and the petitioner was convicted of an offense eligible for expunction under this section and was convicted of, and completed any sentence received for, a nonviolent felony at least 10 years prior to the filing of the petition or a nonviolent misdemeanor at least five years prior to the filing of the petition, it may order that such person be restored, in the contemplation of the law, to the status the person occupied before such arrest or indictment or information, except as provided in G.S. 15A-151.5. If the court denies the petition, the order shall include a finding as to the reason for the denial.
(d) No person as to whom an order has been entered pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of that person’s failure to recite or acknowledge the arrest, indictment, information, trial, or conviction. This subsection shall not apply to a sentencing hearing when the person has been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense.
(d1) Persons pursuing certification under the provisions of Article 1 of Chapter 17C or 17E of the General Statutes, however, shall disclose any and all convictions to the certifying Commission, regardless of whether or not the convictions were expunged pursuant to the provisions of this section.
Persons required by State law to obtain a criminal history record check on a prospective employee shall not be deemed to have knowledge of any convictions expunged under this section.
(e) The court shall also order that the conviction be expunged from the records of the court and direct all law enforcement agencies bearing record of the same to expunge their records of the conviction. The clerk shall notify State and local agencies of the court’s order, as provided in G.S. 15A-150.
(f) Any other applicable State or local government agency shall expunge from its records entries made as a result of the conviction ordered expunged under this section upon receipt from the petitioner of an order entered pursuant to this section. The agency shall also vacate any administrative actions taken against a person whose record is expunged under this section as a result of the charges or convictions expunged. A person whose administrative action has been vacated by an occupational licensing board pursuant to an expunction under this section may then reapply for licensure and must satisfy the board’s then current education and preliminary licensing requirements in order to obtain licensure. This subsection shall not apply to the Department of Justice for DNA records and samples stored in the State DNA Database and the State DNA Databank.
(g) A person who files a petition for expunction of a criminal record under this section must pay the clerk of superior court a fee of one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175.00) at the time the petition is filed. Fees collected under this subsection shall be deposited in the General Fund. This subsection does not apply to petitions filed by an indigent. (2012-191, s. 1; 2013-53, s. 2; 2013-410, s. 4; 2014-100, s. 17.1(o); 2014-119, ss. 1(a), 11(a); 2015-150, s. 4; 2015-181, s. 43; 2017-195, s. 1; 2018-5, s. 17.1(a).)
This expungement statute is a relief to many, as previous laws required a waiting period of ten years rather the current five year wait period. However, for your Greensboro DUI attorney, the frustration over not being able to clear an individual’s record remains.