New Law in NC Makes It Easier to Expunge Your Record

Written by Jonathan Breeden

December 5, 2017

Over the summer, Governor Roy Cooper signed a law that reforms the process for getting your criminal record expunged in North Carolina. While record expungement does not eliminate your criminal convictions, it does keep them out of the view of the public. Governor Cooper’s decision was based on his opinion that criminal justice should end at “restoration,” not “incarceration.”

If you have questions about the record expungement process or want to clear your record, contact experienced criminal defense attorney Jonathan Breeden today at (919) 661-4970.

New North Carolina Record Expungement Law

Starting December 1, 2017, North Carolina’s new law will standardize the process for getting your criminal record expunged. It reduces the wait time for record expungement as follows:

  • For misdemeanors- from 15 years to five years
  • For non-violent felonies- from 15 years to 10 years
  • For dismissals or charges dropped- immediately after request is made

The new law also eliminates the limit on the number of dismissals you can request, so if you have more than one instance where a case was dismissed or you had multiple charges against you dropped, you can request to have them all expunged.

While the public will no longer have access to past convictions, law enforcement and prosecutors will still be able to view them. Additionally, the record expungement rule pertains to lower-level, nonviolent criminal actions. If you were convicted of a violent felony, you will likely not be able to get them expunged.

What the Law Will Accomplish?

The main goal of the record expungement law is to remove nonviolent, low-level criminal convictions from view so you have a better chance at gainful employment and higher education. Many job and college applications ask if you’ve been convicted of a crime, and they can make their decisions about whether or not to accept you based on your answer to that questions. The state believes that, if you’ve done your time and have proven you are able to stay out of trouble, you should be given a fair chance at getting a better job or continuing your education.

Talk To a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense and you’d like to know if your conviction can be expunged according to the new law, contact a criminal defense attorney. Jonathan Breeden at Breeden Law Office has years of experience helping people throughout North Carolina with their cases. Attorney Breeden can help you determine if you qualify and file your request for expungement. Contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 and schedule an appointment to discuss the specifics of your case.


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