What is an Expungement?
An expungement (also called expunction) deletes a criminal record or criminal charge and is as if the incident never happened. Unfortunately, opportunities to receive expungements are pretty limited in North Carolina. However recently, on December 1, 2017 a new expungement law, Senate Bill 445, went into effect that allows more people to get expunctions here in North Carolina. Click here to see reasons why you should consider getting an expungement. As an expungement lawyer in North Carolina, Ryan Stowe can help you with your expungement.
Generally Expunctions in North Carolina are primarily granted under these circumstances:
- A first time nonviolent offense committed more than 5 years ago
- A charge that was dismissed or disposed “not guilty”
- Misdemeanors of any age especially under 18 years old
- Nonviolent felonies committed under 18 years old
How much does it cost to get your criminal record expunged?
Fees vary based upon how the case was disposed. A not-guilty verdict is free to file. A case that was dismissed is also free to file. If you were convicted of the charge the fee to file for an expungement will vary from $0 to $175. In the spirit of transparency, an attorney is not needed to file a petition for an expunction. However, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to assist you with handling your expunction. If you do not hire an expungement lawyer in North Carolina you’ll have to determine which statute applies to your situation and file a petition. Please be advised that any errors will absolutely cause delays in the expungement process. If you choose to hire an expungement lawyer in North Carolina the attorney will also include a fee for their services.
What does an expungement lawyer in North Carolina do?
First we determine if you are eligible for an expungement by completing a through background check. If you are not eligible for an expunction we discuss other options with you. If you are eligible we file all of the documents needed for your expungement. One of the most important things we will do for you is provide constant follow-ups on the process until it is finished completely.
What if I’m not eligible for an expungement?
Many people aren’t eligible for an expunction, however we can likely still be of service. Most people who aren’t eligible for an expungement qualify for a certificate of relief. Certificates of relief are different from expungements in that expunctions make convictions go away whereas certificates of relief help to end the effects of convictions. Certificates of relief will help to remove collateral consequences of convictions such as the inability to get certain jobs, apply for some educational programs, and public housing. If you receive a certificate of relief for a conviction it is illegal for a job, school, or any other entity to deny you solely based on your conviction. Additionally, as an added benefit companies who hire people with certificates of relief cannot be sued for negligent hiring this greatly increases your chances of being hired.
Getting an expunction is not a quick process, it usually takes six – twelve months to be complete. If you have any questions about whether you are eligible for an expungement contact us now at Stowe Law Firm, PLLC to see how we can help.