Asheville Expungement Attorney

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Asheville Expungement Lawyer | NC Expunction Attorney

Criminal convictions can change your life. Most come with penalties that could include extensive fines and prison terms. Abiding by the penalties of a conviction is intended to “pay the debt to society” and allow a person to rehabilitate themselves into a productive citizen. Unfortunately, these stigmas can continue to follow a person. Those with a criminal record may believe that the punishments continue long after they have served their sentence, extending to employment, housing, and relationships.

In certain circumstances, an expunction of criminal convictions from your record could be a way to move beyond this. Not every crime qualifies for expunction, but for some, this could be the answer they have been looking for.

Understanding what can be expunged from your record can be just as complicated as the process to do so. However, the knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys at Doug Edwards Law are available for assistance. With our help, you can take the first steps in reclaiming many of the freedoms in your life that you are already entitled to.

Qualifying for Expungement

Expunction is a legal process that seeks to remove a criminal charge or conviction from a person’s criminal record. In addition, it petitions the state to seal any record of the arrest, charge, and/or conviction. However, even if an expunction is granted, your record could still be used in certain instances, such as federal immigration cases.

There are many statutes that govern expunctions and define what may qualify for the process. Some of the types of convictions and charges that could be expunged include:

  • Misdemeanor convictions
  • Certain gang offenses
  • Various drug charges, including certain possessions or paraphernalia
  • Nonviolent felonies for both adults and those charged while under the age of 18
  • Prostitution offenses
  • Identity theft
  • Certain charges that were dismissed

These charges or convictions, among others, can qualify for an expunction even after several years.

Recently, North Carolina made it easier for those with multiple misdemeanor convictions to qualify. Previously, expunction was only available to first-time offenders. However, these misdemeanors must be nonviolent instances.

What Cannot Be Expunged in North Carolina?

Even with many charges or convictions qualifying for expunction, the list of charges that cannot be expunged is more extensive. Those that do not qualify for expunction include:

  • Felonies that fall into Classes A through G
  • Any crime in which a person tried to incapacitate another individual through intentional food or drink contamination
  • Any felonies that involve some form of assault
  • Any felony that necessitates registration on the sexual offender registry or any other state-mandated registry
  • Specific sex-related crimes or instances of stalking
  • Crimes that involved using a commercial vehicle in the commission of the offense
  • Any offenses that involve methamphetamine or heroin
  • A drug offense for possession or intention to sell that includes cocaine
  • Any offense that involves driving while impaired
  • Certain intimidation cases, particularly if the offense was committed while wearing a mask or included the placing of a burning cross
  • Offenses that are deemed hate crimes

Expungement Process

While working with an expungement attorney to guide you through the process, you can request the expunction by following the steps below:

  • Determine Eligibility: As a part of the application, you will need to supply any documents from the original case. This means obtaining certified copies of court records. If you are applying based on your age at the time of the crime, you will need to prove your age at the time it occurred. An additional element that could help, and is sometimes required, are affidavits of your good character.
  • File the Petition: Once you and your attorney have gathered all the appropriate documents, reviewed them, and ensured they are ready to be filed, you will need to file the application with the clerk of court for the county in which the arrest took place.
  • Review by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI): The application will then be reviewed by the NCSBI, which will compare it to your criminal record and check that you qualify for the process.
  • Judgment: From the NCSBI, your information will be sent to a prosecutor or a judge, who will review all the information submitted by both you and the NCSBI. They could then determine that you qualify and order the expunction of your record, or you could be called into court for any potential questioning.
  • Removal of Records: If approved, the clerk of court is then required to remove the records from your criminal file.

If your expunction is denied for any reason, you can work with your attorney to file an appeal.

Waiting Periods for North Carolina Criminal Expungement

Many believe that the process to expunge one’s record is easy and can begin immediately. However, depending on the level and number of offenses on your record, there are different waiting periods before you can begin the petition process.

  • Single Misdemeanor: You must wait a minimum of five years from the time you were convicted. In addition, you must not have committed any other offenses during that time, excluding minor traffic offenses.
  • Multiple Misdemeanors: For these to be removed from your record, you must wait a minimum of seven years. This starts at the time of the last conviction, as there cannot have been any other offenses since the last one.
  • Felony Convictions: The minimum waiting time is 10 years. As with the other charges, there must have been no further offenses committed.

In 2021, North Carolina passed the Second Chance Act, which provided the specifics for removing multiple misdemeanors from your record. It also provided automatic expungements for cases that are dismissed or end with a not guilty verdict. For multiple misdemeanors, the charges must be for nonviolent crimes.

Contact Asheville Expungement Lawyer

Whether you were charged and acquitted, your case was dismissed, or you served your penalties for your criminal conviction, you shouldn’t have to spend the rest of your life paying for your mistakes. At Doug Edwards Law, we believe in redemption and know that the circumstances of one moment don’t define you for a lifetime. If you are ready to live your life with the full freedoms you deserve, contact our criminal defense attorneys today.

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