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 their records.
If you believe you qualify, we recommend you speak with an attorney about the specifics of your case.