Do I Qualify to Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

Do I Qualify to Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

A criminal record can cause ongoing problems even if you’ve walked the straight and narrow since your conviction. If you have a criminal record, it can be challenging to find a job. You may bump into issues renting an apartment if the complex requires a criminal background check, or volunteering with some organizations. North Carolina law allows for the expungement (or expunction) of criminal records in certain instances. Expunging the record effectively means the conviction is no longer on your record and does not need to be disclosed. It is a great option that can open employment opportunities for many individuals. Who qualifies for expungement? The rules may differ depending on the type of offense, but in general you may apply to have your record expunged if: Your conviction was for a non-violent misdemeanor or felony and at least 15 years have passed since the conviction (certain drug offenses are excluded); You have no other felony or misdemeanor convictions; No other records have been expunged in the past; You have no outstanding warrants or pending convictions; You have remained “of good moral character;” You have no outstanding criminal or civil restitution orders. What else do I need to know? Once information is out on the Internet, it can be hard to clean up. In addition, there are many private companies used by employers to run background checks. It is possible that even though your record has been expunged, the conviction will still show up in some places. You may need to send copies of the expunction paperwork to the company that ran the background check and have them clear...
I’ve Been Arrested. What Do I Do Now?

I’ve Been Arrested. What Do I Do Now?

If you are arrested for a crime, there are steps you should take to protect your rights under the law. Most crimes will be classified as either felonies (more serious crimes with more severe potential consequences) or misdemeanors (less serious crimes). Regardless of which type of crime you are charged with, you should follow this advice: Do not argue with, resist or assault the arresting officer. This will only make the situation worse and could result in additional charges. Even if you are acquitted of the original charge, you may still be convicted of resisting arrest – especially if your actions are caught on police video. The police, jail and court personnel are doing their jobs. Be polite and do not lash out at them. You should answer basic questions about your name and address, and provide the officer with your date of birth. Ask to speak with an attorney before answering any other questions. After your arrest, you will be taking before a Judge for an initial hearing. For a misdemeanor crime, you may be released with a promise to appear in court at a later date, or the Judge may order you to wear an electronic monitoring device. Alternatively, the Judge may set a secured or unsecured bond, requiring you to pay the amount ordered to secure your release. If you are arrested at night or on a weekend or holiday, you may spend a night or two in jail before you can see a Judge. Once you are released, follow any restrictions set by the Judge (for instance, your driving privileges may be limited or you...
5 Things Everyone Who is Arrested Must Know

5 Things Everyone Who is Arrested Must Know

Most of us will never be arrested. But if you are, there are some key things you should know: Be polite and courteous to the arresting officer, Magistrate, and jail personnel. Follow all instructions given by law enforcement officer and judicial officials. Tell the arresting officer you want an attorney before answering any questions other than biographical information (name, address, birth date, etc.). If arrested, you will be taken before a Magistrate, who will set a bond. The Magistrate will authorize your release upon execution of (a.) a written promise to appear; (b.) custody release; (c.) electronic house arrest; (d.) an unsecured bond; or (e.) a secured bond in some dollar amount. The Magistrate can also set restrictions or conditions you must follow upon your release from custody. For example, if you are arrested for an assault charge, the Magistrate can set a restriction that you not have any contact with the purported victim. It is important that you take advantage of your right to counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure your rights are protected....
Changes to the Expungement Laws as of December 2012

Changes to the Expungement Laws as of December 2012

If you have ever searched for a job after having been charged with a crime, you likely understand how frustrating it can be to find an employer willing to hire you. Even if the charge was later dismissed or you were found innocent, the charge remains on your record. The good news? Under North Carolina law, there are certain instances in which an individual may qualify to have their criminal record “expunged” and the previous arrest or conviction removed. Expungement (sometimes called expunction) is not an option in all cases, and the individual is only eligible for one expungement in his or her lifetime. The law does not cover violent felonies or misdemeanors or certain drug offenses, and the individual applying for expungement must have stayed out of trouble since the original arrest. There are other requirements that must be met, so speaking with a North Carolina criminal defense attorney is your best option to find out if you qualify. On December 1, 2012, a law was passed in North Carolina which changes who can qualify for an expungement of a previous crime on a person’s criminal record. Prior to December 1, a person could generally only qualify for an expungement for a crime committed prior to turning age 18, or if a crime was charged and the charge was later dismissed or the person was found innocent. This is an important point because many prospective employers ask if a person has ever been charged with a crime, and the criminal charge if not expunged, would remain on that person’s criminal record for life. The new law beginning December...