North Carolina Adult Criminal Expunction Law
In North Carolina, under certain circumstances, an adult may be able to have their criminal record expunged. Expunction is the legal process by which the arrest or conviction of a person may be erased from public record and from his/her criminal record. Expunction is not available in every case. In general, all criminal charges that are dismissed or result in a finding of not guilty on or after December 1, 2021, are expunged automatically by operation of law. However, any criminal charges dismissed or that resulted in a finding of not guilty prior to December 1, 2021, remain on the adult’s criminal record unless expunged by Court order. If you qualify for an expunction, you are entitled to only one court-ordered expunction in your lifetime in North Carolina.
When an expunction is granted by a Judge, the Court orders that all entries relating to the arrest, charge, or trial be expunged from the records of the Court and all law enforcement agencies. If an expunction is granted by the Court, then the arrest or conviction lawfully does not have to be disclosed by the person whose record was expunged. It is important to note that an expunction of the case information from the Court’s records does not guarantee your case information will be expunged from other sources such as private companies who acquire copies of criminal records to sell to potential employers.
Expunctions available under North Carolina fall into three main categories: Expunctions based on age, expunctions based on dismissals or findings of not guilty, and expunctions of first-time convictions of nonviolent offenses.
There are a number of North Carolina statutes dealing with expunctions. Each statute has certain requirements and procedures which must be met in order to qualify for an expunction. Additionally, each statute has restrictions on expunctions.
N.C.G.S. 15A-145 allows for the expunction of certain misdemeanor convictions for offenses committed before age 18 and 21 for people who have never been convicted of any other crime (not including traffic violations).
N.C.G.S. 15A-145.1 allows for the expunction of records for first offenders under the age of 18 at the time of conviction of certain gang-related offenses.
N.C.G.S. 15A-145.2 provides for the expunction of records for first offenders not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense for certain drug offenses.
N.C.G.S. 15A-145.3 provides for expunction of records for first offenders not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense for certain toxic vapors offenses.
N.C.G.S. 15A-145.4 provides for expunction of records of certain nonviolent felony offenses for first offenders who were under the age of 18 when the offense occurred.
N.C.G.S. 15A-145.5 provides for expunction of records of certain nonviolent offenses for offenders of any age, for 1) certain misdemeanor offenses that occurred five or seven years after the conviction or when any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later; or 2) for certain felony offenses that occurred ten or twenty years after the conviction or when any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served.
N.C.G.S. 15A-146 provides for expunction of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty.
N.C.G.S. 15A-147 provides for expunction of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty as a result of identity theft.
N.C.G.S. 14-458. 1(c) authorizes expunction of cyber-bullying.
This article is intended to provide general information about Expunctions and does not contain a complete list of expunction statutes. Contact our office for a consultation to discuss the specific facts of your situation in order to determine whether or not you qualify for an Expunction under North Carolina law.