A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life, costing you jobs, educational opportunities and damaging your reputation.
This may seem like an unfair consequence, especially if your crime was non-violent in nature or you committed it when you were young and made a mistake, not realizing the consequences.
Fortunately, the Second Chance Act was signed into law in 2020, which allows certain convictions in North Carolina to be expunged from criminal records. This means the conviction is permanently removed.
Qualifying for expungement
The first step to having your criminal record expunged is determining if you qualify. You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for expungement, but if you do, the process from there is relatively straightforward.
The next step is obtaining a copy of your criminal record and completing some forms. The forms you fill out will depend on the type of expungement you are filing.
After that, you file your expungement forms with the clerk’s office in the county of your conviction. Each clerk’s office generally has a different process for filing, so you should learn your county’s process before filing to save time.
Steps after filing your expungement petition
From there, your expungement petition is sent to the State Bureau of Investigation which conducts state and federal background checks. The Administrative Office of the Courts will also review your record to see if you have had any other expungements.
The final step is having a judge sign and issue an order granting your expungement. In some cases, the court might require a hearing in front of the judge before the order is signed. The judge will review your case at the hearing. If you qualify for expungement and have properly completed the steps, your expungement will likely be granted.
You should receive a copy of your expungement order. This is important since you can use it as proof of your expungement in the future.