Just because you have a past, doesn’t mean it should effect your future. If you’re a convicted felon there’s a new North Carolina law that could help you move past previous mistakes. This law allows you to have a felony or misdemeanor conviction expunged if the crime fits specific criteria. Have any questions, like how much an expungement costs or what forms you’ll need? Here’s how you can get criminal record expungement in North Carolina:
The criteria for conviction expungement are as follows:
1) Has to be a misdemeanor or level H-I felony and does not:
- Involve any type of assault
- Require registering as a sex offender
- Involve possession of methamphetamines or heroin, or the sale and delivery of cocaine
- Involve a hate crime
- Involve the use of a commercial motor vehicle
2) The petitioner cannot have any convictions other than a traffic citation.
3) The petitioner has to wait 15 years from the last date of the active sentence or probation, or from the date of conviction if the punishment was only a fine.
6 Steps: Getting A Conviction Expunged in North Carolina
If you fit the criteria above, to get the conviction expunged you must:
1) Get the following affidavits and have them notarized:
- An affidavit from the petitioner stating that they have been of good moral character since the conviction and that they have not had any other convictions other that traffic citations.
- Verified affidavits from 2 people not related to you or each other that they know the character and reputation of the petitioner in the community where he/she lives and that the petitioner’s character and reputation are good.
- A statement that the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted.
- An affidavit by the petitioner that no restitution orders or civil judgments against the petitioner is outstanding.
2) Fill out the proper form.
For a conviction it is an AOC-CR-281, available here: http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/Documents/1388.pdf
3) Serve the district attorney for the county where the charge occurred.
To serve the district attorney, you have to give them a copy of all of the affidavits and the filled out form AOC-CR-281. An assistant district attorney will sign off on your original form that the D.A.’s Office has been served.
You can serve the D.A.’s office in person, or you can send them the forms and a self-addressed return envelope in the mail. They will sign the AOC-CR-281 and return your original documents to you.
i. Best bet is to call the particular D.A.’s office you wish to serve and ask them about their preferred method of service.
ii. The D.A.’s office has 30 days to file an objection to your petition and will try to locate any victims of the crime so that they can object to the petition at a hearing.
4) File the expunction with the clerk.
The cost to file this expunction is $175.00, which must be paid to the clerk of court at the time of filing. Your particular county may require a certified copy of your criminal record as part of your petition ($25 from the clerk of court).
Each county will have a different procedure, a hearing for this type of petition is authorized but the county may waive the hearing.
This is a long slow process; your petition will be reviewed by a judge then sent to the SBI in Raleigh to conduct a thorough background check to determine if you qualify for the expunction. Then the petition goes back to the original court to have a hearing (or not). Once that is complete, the SBI is notified to send notices to the agencies listed on the petition to erase the formal record. Do not expect the expungement process to take less than a year. We set e-mail reminders to check the status of our expunctions; criminal record expungement it is a slow process.
Criminal Record Expungement Process (Recap)
The petition will then go back to the original court to have or not have a hearing. Once that’s complete, the SBI is notified to send notices to the agencies listed on the petition to erase the formal record. Do not expect this process to take less than a year. We set e-mail reminders to check the status of our expunctions to make sure we keep you updated. It’s a slow process, so you’ll need patience but the getting record expungement and having your criminal record cleared can be well worth the wait.
For more information, read these articles from our blog archive:
- Can I have a DWI removed from my criminal record?
- DWI / DUI Frequently asked questions
- Are the police allowed to use force?
- What are the steps of a criminal trial?
- What are the consequences of a criminal record in North Carolina?
Lance Williams is an attorney at Minick Law, P.C. He manages the Gastonia and Mecklenburg offices. Attorney Williams focuses both on Criminal Defense and Personal Injury.