Everyone makes mistakes. However, those mistakes can lead to a criminal record for some people. A drug charge or conviction in your past can make a fresh start difficult.
If you are convicted of a drug offense in North Carolina, you may be wondering if there is any way to get the conviction taken off your record.
The Second Chance Act
North Carolina signed the Second Chance Act into law in 2020, which allows many people with nonviolent misdemeanor convictions to have their criminal records expunged. If it is only one misdemeanor, you must wait 5 years from the date of conviction to file a petition. For more than one, you will need to wait 7 years.
If you are considering having your drug conviction expunged, you will need to take the following steps:
- File a petition for expungement with the court clerk in the county where you were convicted. The petition must include a list of all convictions you want to remove and a certification from the District Attorney that you are eligible for expungement and pay the fee associated with filing the petition.
- From the clerk’s office, the petition will go to the State Bureau of Investigation and the Administrative Office of the Courts for review.
- Once the petition is returned to the clerk, you will schedule a hearing with the judge. The criminal record will be sealed or destroyed if the judge grants the expungement.
Having your drug conviction expunged will allow you to have a clean criminal record which is important for many reasons, such as getting a job or renting an apartment.
The process can be stressful and time-consuming, so before you see the county clerk, you will want to discuss your case with someone to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and can help you with your petition.