Expungements are a vital protection for you and your loved ones. In this day and age, a simple internet search may reveal that you were accused of a crime, yet will not reveal the fact that the case was dismissed nor your innocence. The stigma may hinder your career, job search, or even negatively affect your reputation.The potential to expunge a criminal charge must be considered from the very beginning of a case. An skilled attorney will manipulate the outcome of a case to create an opportunity to remove the charge entirely from your background. This may allow for different opportunities to avoid collateral consequences of criminal charges.
If you have been convicted of a crime, you may also be eligible for an expungement.
Expungement process and eligibility are specific and limited. Typically, a petitioner files for an expungement in the appropriate court, and if they satisfy the statutory requirements, a court is required to grant the expungement. Expungement orders require the case records to be erased and the physical records to be destroyed. This requirement applies to North Carolina courts, state and local law enforcement agencies, government agencies listed in the petition, and private businesses that provide criminal background checks.Specifically, N.C.G.S. 15A-150 requires that notification of an expungement must be sent to the AOC, the sheriff, chief of police, or other arresting agency, the Division of Motor Vehicles, Division of Adult Correction and any other State or local agency identified by the petition as bearing a record of the offense. The FBI and SBI are notified, as well as private entities that have a licensing agreement with the State regarding criminal record data. A confidential database containing the names of those receiving expungements is maintained, and may only be disclosed for certain purposes, including notice of previous expungements, to an individual to confirm their own expungement, by subpoena in a civil action under N.C.G.S. 15A-152, and for expungements under 15A-145.4 or 15A-145.5, to the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the equivalent Sheriffs’ Commission, for certification purposes only. The clerk will even destroy all records of the offense, including the case file and petition and order of expungement.
Should an agency fail to follow the expungement order, N.C.G.S. 15A-152 may allow the pursuit of civil liability.All expungements require a $175 fee, payable to the Clerk of Superior Court, prior to the petition being heard. There are four notable exceptions: expungements under 15A-145.6 (prostitution offenses); 15A-146, when the case resulted in an acquittal or a dismissal (voluntary dismissal, or “VD”); 15A-147 (victims of identity theft); and 15A-149 (pardon of innocence).
There are three specific classifications of expungements: age based expungements, dismissals and related expungements, and drug-related offense expungements. Further relief may be available if your situation does not allow for an expungement.
AOC forms and detailed instructions are provided by the AOC at http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/FormSearch.asp. Each statute and form numbers are provided below.Relevant Statutory Authority
15A-145 Expungement of records for first offender under the age of 18 at the time of
the conviction of misdemeanor; expungement of certain other misdemeanors.
15A-145.1 Expungement of records for first offenders under the age of 18 at the time of
conviction of certain gang offenses.
15A-145.2 Expungement of records for first offenders not over 21 years of age at the
time of the offense of certain drug offenses.
15A-145.3 Expungement of records for first offenders not over 21 years of age at the
time of the offense of certain toxic vapors offenses.
15A-145.4 Expungement of records for first offenders who are under 18 years of age at the time of the commission of a nonviolent felony.
15A-145.5 Expungement of certain misdemeanors and felonies; no age limitation.
15A-145.6 Expungements for certain defendants convicted of prostitution
15A-146. Expungement of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty.
15A-147. Expungement of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty as a result of identity theft.
15A-148 Expungement of DNA records when charges are dismissed on appeal or
pardon of innocence is granted.
15A-149 Expungement of records when pardon of innocence is granted.
15A-150 Notification requirements.
15A-151 Confidential agency files; exceptions to expungement.
15A-152. Civil liability for dissemination of certain criminal history information.
15A-173.1- Certification of Relief
15A-145 AOC-CR-264 and AOC-CR-264(I)
15A-145.1 AOC-CR-269 and AOC-CR-269(I)
15A-145.2 AOC-CR-266 and AOC-CR-266(I)
15A-145.3 AOC-CR-268 and AOC-CR-268(I)
15A-145.4 AOC-CR-279 and AOC-CR-279(I)
15A-145.5 AOC-CR-281 and AOC-CR-281(I)
15A-145.6 AOC-CR-282 and AOC-CR-282(I)
15A-146. AOC-CR-264 and AOC-CR-264(I)