Summary of NC Expunctions 2014

A CRIMINAL RECORD often gives rise to significant barriers to gainful employment, affordable housing, family unification, and a variety of other benefits and opportunities essential to productive citizenship. For assistance in understanding the statutory barriers to particular benefits or opportunities that may arise due to a specific criminal record, please use the UNC School of Government’s Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool at http://ccat.sog.unc.edu/.

In North Carolina, an expunction is the destruction of a criminal record by court order. An expunction (also called an “expungement”) of a criminal record restores the individual, in the view of the law, to the status he or she occupied before the criminal record existed. With rare exception, when an individual is granted an expunction, he or she may truthfully and without committing perjury or false statement deny or refuse to acknowledge that the criminal incident occurred. The primary exception to this is for purposes of federal immigration. Please see North Carolina General Statutes §15A-151 for other exceptions.

Contrary to common belief, opportunities to expunge a criminal record in North Carolina are relatively rare. Instead, criminal records eligible for expunction in North Carolina are generally limited to the following three categories:

  • A first-time, nonviolent offense committed more than 15 years ago
  • A first-time offense committed under age 18/22
  • A charge that was dismissed or disposed “not guilty”

This summary provides details of the following twelve expunction statutes:

  • Juvenile Record………………………………… NCGS §7B-3200
  • Misdemeanor Under Age 18…………………… NCGS §15A-145
  • Gang Offense Under Age 18…………………… NCGS §15A-145.1
  • Controlled Substance Under Age 22 …………… NCGS §15A-145.2
  • Toxic Vapors Under Age 22……………............. NCGS §15A-145.3
  • Nonviolent Felony Under Age 18……….……… NCGS §15A-145.4
  • Nonviolent Offense…………………………...... NCGS §15A-145.5
  • Prostitution Offense………………………......... NCGS §15A-145.6
  • Charge Resulting in Dismissal or Not Guilty ….. NCGS §15A-146
  • Identity Theft………………………………….... NCGS §15A-147
  • DNA Records………………………………....... NCGS §15A-148
  • Pardon of Innocence……………………………. NCGS §15A-149

In addition, this summary provides the following information and resources:

  • Certificates of Relief……………………………. NCGS §15A-173
  • Indigent Fee Waiver
  • Steps to Submitting a Petition for Expunction
  • How to Read an ACIS Criminal Record Report
  • Petition for Expunction of Nonviolent Offense, Sample
  • Petition for Expunction of Dismissed Charges, Sample
  • Petitioner’s Affidavit, Worksheet
  • Affidavit of Good Character, Worksheet
  • Affidavit of Good Character

Also included in this summary are answers to questions regarding terms, interpretations, and procedures that frequently arise in petitioning for relief under North Carolina’s expunction laws. These frequently asked questions are located on pages 19 through 24. Additional information regarding expunction eligibility and procedures can be found in the UNC School of Government’s Digital Guide to Expunctions, Certificates of Relief, and Other Procedures in North Carolina.

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