Can I Have My Record Expunged?
A criminal conviction can mean serious penalties such as fines, restitution, community service or jail time. Unfortunately, the consequences can extend far beyond the legal system. If you are applying for a job, seeking new housing, preparing to go to college or even attempting to purchase a firearm, having a criminal record can limit your opportunities.
At the Law Office of William G. Causey Jr., we have decades of experience representing clients in Greensboro and throughout North Carolina. For those who were convicted of a crime, there exists a legal process by which they can have their record cleaned — or expunged — of the offense.
What Is Expungement?
Even if your case was dismissed, a record still remains visible to anyone with access to your records. This can include potential employers, landlords, college administrators or insurers. Through the process of expungement, often referred to as expunction, your record can be cleared whether you were arrested, stood trial or were only charged with a crime.
Depending on factors generally centered on elapsed time, an experienced lawyer can guide you through this process to have your record wiped clean. With an expunged record, in most circumstances, you can truthfully deny the charge or conviction ever occurred.
Were There Recent Changes?
A new expungement law took effect in North Carolina on December 1, 2017. Often referred to as Senate Bill 445, this bill had a significant impact for North Carolinians with first-time nonviolent convictions and charges not resulting in convictions who were seeking expunction relief.
The main impact of the bill is that the wait times were reduced. For a first-time nonviolent misdemeanor or felony the wait time was reduced from 15 years to 5 years for a misdemeanor and 10 years for a felony. The bill also provides for expunction of all dismissed and not guilty charges as long as an individual has not been convicted of a felony.
In addition, the bill addressed the standardization of the filing procedures and refining inconsistencies across jurisdictions. If you have questions about your criminal record and are curious if the expungement process applies to you, it is important that contact a skilled defense attorney as soon as possible.