Raleigh Criminal Lawyer: FAQs on How to Expunge a Criminal Record
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders will no longer be charged with offenses that impose severe mandatory sentences. Holder’s announcement is in response to soaring prison costs — $60 billion in 2012 — and draconian budget cuts brought about through the federal sequester. There is another way to reduce prison costs and maintain public safety without diminishing accountability — eliminate the collateral consequences of a conviction. A conviction shouldn’t be a life sentence. A collateral consequence is a penalty, disability, or disadvantage that is related to employment or occupational licensing as a result of the individual’s conviction and applies whether or not the penalty, disability, or disadvantage is included in the sentence.
A criminal record documents a person’s criminal history. Potential employers generally use it to evaluate an applicant’s trustworthiness. The information contained in a criminal record includes felonies, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and petty misdemeanors.
According to a Sentencing Project article where the above excerpt was taken from, there are over 38,000 penalties that can “impact people long after they complete their sentences.” Below are a few questions on how you can expunge a criminal record.
Q: Can I clean my record?
You can ask the court to seal your criminal case through a process called expungement. Recent changes in North Carolina laws now allow certain people to expunge convictions from their record, where previously only cases that had been dismissed or resulted in a not guilty verdict could be expunged. This action erases the charge from your record, but be careful! You only get one expunction in your lifetime in North Carolina.
Q: What do I need to do to get my criminal record expunged?
First, you’ll need to get the necessary forms from the court, fill them out, make copies, and then have someone serve the forms to the corresponding government agencies. Next, file the forms at the courthouse and pay a filing fee. Afterward, you’ll need to attend a hearing with a judge, who will then furnish you with a written order that either grants or denies your request. To ensure this goes smoothly, it is best to have a good Raleigh criminal lawyer helping you out through the entire process.
Q: What happens to my criminal record when it gets expunged?
An expunction puts you back in the same place as if you had never been charged with the crime at all – it acts as an eraser that can give you a “clean slate.” Your charge or conviction will not show up on a criminal background check, and law enforcement and the court system can’t use an expunged charge against you.
(Article Excerpt and Image from: “Making A Claim: Fighting A Conviction,” Court Justice Help, Sept. 6, 2013)