Are You Eligible for an Expungement in Charlotte?

Charlotte Expungement LawyersWhether you are only charged with a crime or have been convicted of a crime, having a criminal record in Charlotte, North Carolina means significant consequences beyond those associated with the criminal justice system. Simply put, while a criminal record may mean punishment in the form of fines, probation, and jail time, there are other ways a criminal record can negatively impact your life that is largely outside the control of the criminal justice system. That is, in addition to fines, probation, and jail time, a criminal record can often be a barrier to things such as gainful employment, affordable housing, professional licensing, voting rights, welfare benefits, student loans, jury duty, and immigration status.

What is an Expungement in Charlotte, North Carolina?

In Charlotte, you may be able to avoid the collateral consequences mentioned above by having your criminal record expunged. This process is legally referred to as an expunction, but is more commonly known as an expungement. From a practical standpoint, both mean the same thing. If you are granted an expungement, a court order will be entered ordering law enforcement to erase or destroy your criminal record. Specifically, North Carolina’s law makes it clear that the purpose of an expungement is to clear your public record of any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction.

How Can Hiring a Charlotte Expungement Attorney Benefit You?

Essentially, the destruction of your criminal record returns your criminal history status to where you were before the criminal record came into existence; that is, it is as if the criminal incident never occurred. More precisely, being granted an expunction has several benefits for you. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. You do not have to reference any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction that was expunged.
  2. A records check of your criminal record will not disclose any arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction that was expunged.
  3. You cannot be held responsible for perjury, or otherwise giving a false statement, by not acknowledging an arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction that was expunged.

It is important to note that there are rare exceptions to the expungement benefits highlighted above. To read more about these exceptions, check out North Carolina G.S. 15A-153(c).

Who Qualifies for an Expungement in Charlotte?

While you now have an idea of what an expungement is and how it may benefit you, let’s look at who qualifies for an expungement. While people often think that having an arrest, criminal charge, or criminal conviction expunged is an absolute right, the truth is that criminal records eligible for expungement in Charlotte, North Carolina are relatively rare. In fact, to be eligible for an expunction you must meet the requirements listed under the statute applicable to your scenario. Below are the various statutes that address expungements in Charlotte.

Misdemeanor Convictions Under Age 18

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145

Requirements to File:

  1. You have been convicted of either:
    1. A misdemeanor that you committed before you turned 18 years old; or
    2. Misdemeanor possession of alcohol under North Carolina G.S. 18B-302(b)(1) that you committed before you turned 21 years old;
  2. You do not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions;
  3. You have waited a period of two years from (i) the date of conviction or (ii) the completion of probation, whichever occurs later; and
  4. You do not have any subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation, within the two-year waiting period.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been on good behavior for the two-year waiting period;
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation;
    3. That the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted; and
    4. That no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you are outstanding.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-264

Gang Convictions Under Age 18

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.1

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a criminal record for either a:
    1. Class H felony conviction under Article 13A of Chapter 14 of the North Carolina General Statutes, which includes:
      1. Pattern of criminal street gang activity
      2. Soliciting or encouraging gang participation
      3. Soliciting or encouraging gang participation of a minor
      4. Threats to deter from gang withdrawal
      5. Threats of punishment of punishment or retaliation;
    2. Conviction for an offense for which punishment was enhanced under North Carolina General Statute 14-50.22; or
    3. A gang related charge that was dismissed pursuant to North Carolina General Statute 14-50.29;
  2. You do not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions;
  3. You were less than 18 years old at the time of the offense;
  4. You have waited a period of two years from (i) the date of conviction or (ii) the completion of all terms of the criminal sentence, whichever occurs later; and
  5. You do not have any subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation, within the two-year waiting period.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been on good behavior for the two-year waiting period;
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation;
    3. That the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted; and
    4. That no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you are outstanding.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-269

Drug Charges and Convictions Under Age 22

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.2

Dismissed Drug Charges Under Age 22 Pursuant to N.C.G.S. 90-96(a) or (a1)

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a criminal record for a charge that was dismissed pursuant to N.C.G.S. 90-96(a) or (a1); and
  2. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been on good behavior during the period of probation since the decision to defer further proceedings on the offense in question; and
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-266

Dismissed/Not Guilty Drug Charges Under Age 22

Requirements to File:

  1. You were charged with a drug offense that was either a:
    1. Misdemeanor drug crime under N.C.G.S. Article 5, Chapter 90; or
    2. Felony drug possession crime under N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(3); that is, felony possession of a controlled substance;
      • Note: Prior to 2012, had to be less than 1 gram of cocaine
  2. Your charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty; and
  3. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense.

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-266

Drug Convictions Under Age 22

Requirements to File:

  1. You were convicted of either:
    1. Misdemeanor drug possession under N.C.G.S. Article 5, Chapter 90;
    2. Misdemeanor drug paraphernalia possession under N.C.G.S. 90-113.22; or
    3. Felony drug possession under N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(3); that is, felony possession of a controlled substance
      • Note: Prior to 2012, had to be less than 1 gram of cocaine
  2. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense;
  3. At least 12 months from the date of your conviction have passed;
  4. You have successfully completed a drug education program;
  5. You do not have any prior or subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions, other than a traffic violation; and
  6. You have not previously had a conviction expunged under 15A-145.2(c).

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-266

Toxic Vapor Charges and Convictions Under Age 22

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.3

Dismissed Toxic Vapor Charge Under Age 22 Pursuant to 90-113.14(a) or (a1)

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a criminal record for a toxic vapor charge that was dismissed pursuant to N.C.G.S. 90-113.14(a) or (a1); and
  2. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been on good behavior during the period of probation since the decision to defer further proceedings on the misdemeanor offense in question; and
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation;
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-268

Dismissed/Not Guilty Toxic Vapor Charge Under Age 22

Requirements to File:

  1. You were charged with a toxic vapor offense that is either a:
    1. Misdemeanor offense under N.C.G.S. Article 5A, Chapter 90; or  
    2. Misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia offense under N.C.G.S. 90-113.22;
  2. Your charge was dismissed or you were found not guilty; and
  3. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense.

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-268

Toxic Vapor Conviction Under Age 22

Requirements to File:

  1. You were convicted of a misdemeanor toxic vapor offense under N.C.G.S. Article 5A, Chapter 90;
  2. You were less than 22 years old at the time of the offense;
  3. At least 12 months from the date of your conviction have passed;
  4. You have successfully completed a drug education program;
  5. You do not have any prior or subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation; and
  6. You have not previously had a conviction expunged under 15A-145.3(c).

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: Not required

Cost: $175

Form: AOC-CR-268

Nonviolent Felony Convictions Under Age 18

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.4

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a nonviolent felony conviction;
    • The following are NOT considered nonviolent felonies:
      • Class A through G felonies
      • A felony that includes assault as an essential element of the crime
      • A felony that is an offense requiring sex offender registration
      • A felony stalking offense listed under North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.5(a)(5)
      • Other than a Class G, H, or I felony where a PJC was entered, any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the North Carolina G.S. that involves methamphetamines, heroin, or PWISD cocaine
      • Any felony hate crime offense listed under North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.5(a)(7)
      • A felony offense involving tear gas under North Carolina G.S. 14-401.16
      • Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the crime
      • Any felony offense involving impaired driving
  2. You were less than 18 years old at the time of the offense;
  3. You do not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, other than traffic violations;
  4. You have waited a period of four years from (i) the date of conviction or (ii) when any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later;
  5. You must perform at least 100 hours of community service, preferably related to the conviction;
  6. You must have a high school diploma or GED;
  7. You do not have any outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases;
  8. You do not have any subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation, within the four-year waiting period.
  9. You have not previously been granted an expungement.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been of good moral character since the date of conviction of the nonviolent felony in question;
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation;
    3. That the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted;
    4. That no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you are outstanding;
    5. That you have performed at least 100 hours of community service and the details of those community service hours; and
    6. That you have a high school diploma or GED.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $175

Form:AOC-CR-279

Nonviolent Felony or Misdemeanor Convictions

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.5

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a nonviolent felony conviction;
    • The following are NOT considered nonviolent felonies:
      • Class A through G felonies
      • A felony that includes assault as an essential element of the crime
      • A felony that is an offense requiring sex offender registration
      • A felony stalking offense listed under North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.5(a)(5)
      • Other than a Class G, H, or I felony where a PJC was entered, any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the North Carolina G.S. that involves methamphetamines, heroin, or PWISD cocaine
      • Any felony hate crime offense listed under North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.5(a)(7)
      • A felony offense involving tear gas under North Carolina G.S. 14-401.16
      • Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the crime
      • Any felony offense involving impaired driving​
  2. You do not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions, other than traffic violations;
  3. You have waited a period of 15 years from (i) the date of conviction or (ii) when any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later;
  4. You do not have any subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation, within the 15-year waiting period;
  5. You have successfully completed any sentence;
  6. You have no outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases; and
  7. You have not previously been granted an expungement under 15A-145, 15A-145.1, 15A-145.2, 15A-145.3, 15A-145.4, or 15A-145.5.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. That you have been of good moral character since the date of conviction of the nonviolent felony in question;
    2. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation;
    3. That the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted; and
    4. That no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you are outstanding.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $175

Form:AOC-CR-281

Prostitution Convictions

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-145.6

Requirements to File:

  1. You have a conviction for a prostitution offense under either
    1. North Carolina G.S. 14-204 after September 30, 2013; or
    2. North Carolina G.S. 14-204(7) prior to October 1, 2013;
  2. You do not have any prior convictions for any violent felony or violent misdemeanor;
    • Note: Violent felony or violent misdemeanor includes any Class A through G felony or Class A1 misdemeanor where assault is included as an essential element of the offense.
  3. You meet one of the following three criteria:
    1. Your participation in the prostitution offense was a result of having been a trafficking victim;
    2. You have no other prior convictions for a prostitution offense and at least three years have passed from (i) the date of conviction or (ii) when any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later; or
    3. You received a conditional discharge pursuant to North Carolina G.S. 14-204(b);
  4. You do not have any subsequent felony convictions, or misdemeanor convictions, other than a traffic violation;
  5. You have no outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases; and
  6. You have no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you outstanding.

Required Affidavits:

  1. You must include a statement indicating the following:
    1. ​That you have no prior convictions of a violent felony or violent misdemeanor;
    2. That you have been of good moral character since the date of conviction of the prostitution offense in question;
    3. That you have not been convicted of any felony, or misdemeanor, since the date of the conviction of the prostitution offense;
    4. That the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted; and
    5. That no restitution orders, or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution, entered against you are outstanding.
  2. Verified affidavits of two people who are not related to you, or to each other, who know your character and reputation in the community where you live, and that character and reputation is good.

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $175

Form:AOC-CR-282

Charges Not Resulting in a Conviction

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-146

Requirements to File:

  1. You were charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense that was disposed of by either a:
    1. Dismissal;
    2. Finding of not guilty; or
    3. Finding of not responsible.
  2. You have not been convicted of a felony;
  3. You have not previously been granted an expungement under 15A-145, 15A-145.1, 15A-145.2, 15A-145.3, 15A-145.4, 15A-145.5, or 146.

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: Not required

Cost: $0, unless the dismissal occurred as the result of the completion of a diversionary program, then $175

Form: AOC-CR-264

Identity Theft Victims and Mistaken Identity

Statute: North Carolina G.S. 15A-147

Requirements to File:

  1. Your identity was used without your permission;
  2. This use resulted in criminal charges against you; and
  3. The criminal charges against you were disposed of by either a:
    1. Dismissal;
    2. Finding of not guilty; or
    3. The conviction was set aside.

Required Affidavits: None

Notice: You must serve the petition on the District Attorney’s Office

Cost: $0

Form: AOC-CR-263

Questions About Expungement? 

As mentioned above, the expungement process varies depending on the charge. To discuss pursuing an expungement of your case, contact Browning & Long today at 980-224-4482 to set up a free consultation.