Our current expungement laws will afford more people than ever before the ability to remove things from their criminal record. We at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas are experienced in the practice of expungements and work hard to find ways to assist our clients in cleaning up their record.
Read below to find out in what ways the law may now benefit you!
Please note: the changes referenced below became effective December 1, 2017. ** UPDATE ** Review changes to expungement laws set for December 2020
Don’t wait – contact us today to see if you may qualify for an expungement.
The Two Biggest Coming Changes to Our North Carolina Expungement Laws
1.) Convictions – the waiting periods will be shortened significantly!
For nonviolent felonies the waiting period will be reduced to 10 years and for nonviolent misdemeanors, the waiting period will be reduced to 5 years.
The time begins running from the date of conviction or the date any sentence or period of probation ends, whichever is later.
2.) Dismissed Charges – no longer will there be a limit to the number of expungements allowed for charges dismissed or findings of not guilty.
How are the New Expungement Laws Different from the Current Law?
Our current expungement laws do not differentiate between felonies and misdemeanors and require a 15 year waiting period for both types of convictions. Under the new law, there will be such a distinction between the two types of convictions: nonviolent felony convictions will have only a 10 year waiting period, and nonviolent misdemeanor convictions will have only a 5 year waiting period.
Additionally, as to those charges resulting in a dismissal or a finding of not guilty, the current laws set forth a general rule that one can use an expungement once in a lifetime. While there are a few exceptions, the process is still tricky making it difficult for someone to sufficiently clean up their record. However, once the new law takes effect, ALL dismissed charges or those resulting in a finding of not guilty will be eligible for expungement, regardless of how many or when they were received or dismissed. *There will be one exception to this rule which did carry over from the current law – you are not eligible to expunge even a dismissed/acquitted charge if you have ever been convicted of a felony.
This is why it is important to contact us at Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas to discuss what options you may have. There may be ways to expunge the felony first an then expunge the dismissal(s).
What if I Have Already had a Prior Expungement, and Since then I have Received a New Charge?
The answer depends on what happens to that new charge and what statute your previous expungement was filed under.
Under the new law, for offenses that were dismissed or there was a finding of not guilty, even a prior expungement of some other offense will not exclude you.
So even if you have had a prior expungement, be sure to contact us! You may still be eligible for further relief.
NC Expungement Laws that will NOT Change
Now it is important to note that some things will not be affected.
– Age During First Criminal Offense
For instance, if you are under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, then you may qualify under the first offenders’ statute which already allows a shorter waiting period than that mentioned above. Again, it is important to speak with an attorney to find out your options. Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas are knowledgeable about what options will best assist you.
– Current Class Convictions
Additionally, the types or class of convictions currently included or excluded will not change. The convictions must be nonviolent and must also be a felony class lower than a class G.
However, there are still exceptions even to that general class category, some nonviolent offenses are still excluded, even if the class is lower than G.
For instance, the following are excluded, even though they are low class level felony offenses: breaking and entering convictions (whether a motor vehicle or building); certain drug convictions – almost any drug conviction of selling or delivering any drug other than marijuana will generally be excluded.
Note again – the rules are slightly less strict if you are a first offender who was under the age of 18 at the time of offense.
Furthermore, the conviction cannot be one that has assault as element and it cannot be one which would require sex offender registration.
Request Counsel from an Experienced Raleigh Expungement and Criminal Law Attorney
Expungement laws are tricky and there are several different statutes which govern this area of law. Therefore, it is important to contact an experienced attorney who is familiar with both the current and new laws.
Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas are experienced and knowledgeable about our state’s expungement laws and can assist you in obtaining relief from your past. Don’t put it off, contact us today!
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