Expunction or Cleaning Your Criminal Record Explained by North Carolina Trial Attorneys

The Raleigh Criminal Defense Lawyers of Kurtz & Blum Discuss Eligibility Requirements and the Mechanism for Expunging a Prior Charge or Conviction.

Lots of people want to know how they can clean their criminal record.

It depends on the record.  Relatively new laws now allow some people under some circumstances who were convicted of crimes to erase or expunge their conviction.  Others may be eligible for what is known as a certificate of relief.  Up until recently the categories of people who were eligible for expunctions were far more limited and included people with:

  • Misdemeanor possession of alcohol convictions
  • Misdemeanor charges for which you were found not guilty or which were dismissed
  • Charges that were put on you in error as a result of identity fraud

Now, even people with convictions for felony possession of cocaine may be eligible for expunction.  Also, in cases of mistaken identity, expunctions are now automatic and are no longer limited to one per lifetime. 

Outside of getting a case expunged, it is occasionally possible to re-open a criminal conviction and ask the assistant district attorney (or ADA) to consider dismissing it or renegotiating the charge based on some circumstances. Call us to talk to an attorney about that possibility.

In the brief video above, we explain how expunctions work.  A conviction or a charge that was dismissed may not always have to hold you back.

Here is the transcript to our expunction video:

Howard A. Kurtz, Partner

If you’ve ever had to answer “yes” to that question whether you’ve been charged or convicted of a crime, on a job application, an application for college or for a student loan, then you know how much of an impediment it can be.  Have you ever lost out on getting a job after the employer ran a background check and found something you thought that you had put behind you?  Did you know that even if your case has been dismissed, it will still show up on most background checks?  There may be a solution to your problem.

An expunction is the legal process through which a criminal charge, and in some circumstances even a conviction, is removed from your criminal record.  An expunction may be applied for even if the case is several years old.

There are a number of circumstances in which someone may apply for an expunction.  But keep in mind that in North Carolina you only get one expunction in your lifetime.

Seth A. Blum, Partner

  • You can get an expunction after you had a case dismissed or you were found not guilty.
  • You can get an expunction for a single misdemeanor conviction if it occurred before your 18th birthday so long as you have stayed out of trouble for at least two years since that conviction.
  • You can get an expunction for a single misdemeanor possession of alcohol convictions if you were under 21 at time of the offense.
  • You can get an expunction for a single misdemeanor drug offense or even for a felony drug possession conviction if you were less than 21 at the time of the offense and have completed a drug education program.
  • You may even be able to get an expunction for a single non-violent felony if you were under 18 at the time of the offense, four years have passed since the date of either your conviction or from the time you got out of prison or off of probation and after you have performed 100 hours of community service.
Once an expunction is fully processed, which takes between six and nine months, it won’t be found in most background checks.  If you are interested in having a criminal charge or conviction expunged, and you think that you might be eligible, give us a call, we can help.

Our criminal defense lawyers help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina.  We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Rolesville, Garner, Wake Forest, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Wendell, Holly Springs, Apex, New Hope, Knightdale, Morrisville, Raleigh and Zebulon.