NC Expungement Law Changes: Effective December 1, 2017

The N.C. Legislature, in a bipartisan effort, along with the Governor have passed a law that goes into effect on 12/1/2017 dramatically changing the waiting period for non-violent misdemeanor and felony criminal convictions.  This new law will allow more people to expunge (clear) their criminal record in a quicker time period.  This law will also allow law enforcement and prosecutors to have access to charges expunged on or after July 1, 2018 and use your expunged criminal record in calculating sentencing levels if you are convicted of a subsequent criminal offense.

3 MAIN CHANGES TO EXPUNCTION LAWS:

Nonviolent Misdemeanor Convictions Nonviolent Felony Convictions Dismissed or Not Guilty Felony or Misdemeanor Charges
Reduces wait time to file for expunction from 15 to 5 years Reduces wait time to file for expunction from 15 to 10 years Eliminates the number of expunctions that may be granted (no wait time)
Conviction cannot be an A1 misdemeanor, DWI or an offense that contains “assault” as an element of the crime. Cannot be a Class A through G felony or an offense that contains “assault” as an element of the crime. Exception: An expunction is not allowed if you have been previously convicted of a felony
Must wait 5 years from conviction date or upon completion of sentence- whichever is later Must wait 10 years after the conviction date or upon completion of sentence- whichever is later. Eliminates the requirement that the offenses be alleged to have occurred within the same 12-month period
Other offenses excluded from expunction. Other offenses excluded from expunction. A person may obtain an expunction of a dismissed charge even if he/she is convicted of misdemeanors in the same case

Current (pre 12/1/2017) offenses that are eligible for expunction:
See Chapter 15A, Article 5 of the N.C. General Statues for more information.

  • First offenders under the age of 18 at the time of conviction of misdemeanor
  • First offender under the age of 18 at the time of conviction of certain gang offenses
  • First offenders not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense of certain drug offense
  • First offenders not over the age of 21 at the time of the offense of certain toxic vapor offenses
  • First offenders under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of a nonviolent felony
  • First offenders under the age of 21 at the time of the commission of a misdemeanor underage possession/consumption of alcohol offense

As you can see this is a very complex and often time complicated process.  If you are looking to clean up your record please contact Attorney Chris Dozier to discuss your options.In order to get your criminal record expunged in North Carolina you must file the petition in the County Courthouse where the charge originated accompanied by the appropriate AOC form.  There is no fee to file a petition to expunge dismissed or not guilty cases, however there is a $175 filing fee for filing an expungment of a conviction or a case dismissed pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement.  The process can take roughly 6 to 12 months from start to finish.