If you have paid your price to society following a criminal conviction, you deserve a second chance in life. Unfortunately, a criminal record can hang over your head for the rest of your life. From joining college to finding work or even exercising civic rights like voting, a criminal record can greatly impact your life.
Getting your criminal record expunged can give you a fresh start in life. However, it helps to understand exactly what an expungement does and what it does not do.
Understanding how expungement works in North Carolina
Expunction is the removal of your criminal charge or conviction from public records. In North Carolina, the process of expunction begins by petitioning the court that convicted you. You will start by filling out the specific Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) form that is applicable to your case.
Here are some of the conditions you must meet to qualify for expungement in North Carolina:
- You must satisfy the waiting period for the record you hope to expunge
- You must pay all court-directed costs
- You must not be on probation or parole with any court
- You must have no active arrest warrant or criminal summon
- You must not have any open criminal case
Your expunged records do not necessarily go away forever
An expunction basically means that your criminal record will be erased or destroyed. Thus, the general public (like your prospective employer or landlord) will not see the expunged record. However, this does not mean that absolutely no one can access this record. If you are charged in the future, your past criminal record might come back to haunt you even if it was expunged.
In North Carolina, the following people can still access your criminal record after expunction:
- The court clerk
- The circuit or criminal court judge
- The district attorney general as well as the prosecution
You can start over
Getting your criminal record expunged can be beneficial in a number of ways. Find out how you can kick-start the process of expunging your criminal record in North Carolina.