We all make mistakes in life, but some mistakes can haunt you as the years go by because it is on your permanent record. Things like getting a job or leasing an apartment can be troublesome if a background check shows a prior criminal charge or conviction. There are ways to get prior criminal charges removed from your record, and you may be eligible for an expungement in Raleigh, North Carolina.
So what is expungement? Expungement is the process of physically destroying any evidence of the prior criminal history. This means that once an arrest or conviction has been expunged, it will not be seen or discovered by potential employers or landlords. For example, if you are asked on a job or apartment application if you’ve been convicted of a crime, you can honestly answer “no” if your record has been expunged. You can even answer “no” in a court of law under the penalty of perjury.
In North Carolina, you are allowed to petition for an expungement once in your lifetime under 2 scenarios. First, if your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty. If you had a misdemeanor or felony charge on your record and were deemed not guilty or the case was dismissed, you can petition the court to erase any public record of the criminal proceedings. In fact, you can petition for the expungement of as many dismissals you received within a 12 month range. Secondly, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor before the age of 18, or you were found guilty of possession of alcohol before your 21st birthday, you may be entitled to expungement of your criminal record.
To begin the expungement process, the first step you should take is to consult with your criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC to find out if your charge qualifies for expungement. If your charge does qualify, your attorney will complete an petition for expungement and file the petition with the local clerk of court. The fees for filing can be as much as $200.
In some situations, the North Carolina General Statutes require a period of time where you have not committed any further crimes. Expunging a misdemeanor or felony charge can be a complex process and hiring a criminal defense attorney will help to simplify things for you. Not all crimes are eligible for expungement. Convictions of violent crimes like sexual abuse, sexual battery, or rape are not eligible under the law.
If your identity was stolen in the state of North Carolina and charges were brought against you as a result, you may petition the court to have your record expunged if the charges were dismissed. If you were convicted of a crime and DNA evidence was used to reverse your conviction, you are eligible for expungement. In addition, if you were pardoned, you may petition the court to have your criminal record expunged.
Having a criminal record shouldn’t stop you from achieving the things you want in life. Whether it be getting a good job, going to school, finding a home or volunteering, you may face obstacles to meeting these goals if you have a criminal record. For more information on getting your record expunged, contact the Scharff Law Firm at (919) 457-1954 for details.