A criminal record in North Carolina can be an anchor weighing down your future potential.
The trouble is that the North Carolina legal system can be very broad in what it considers part of your criminal record. For instance, even if you were declared not guilty in a jury trial, or if criminal charges were dropped in your case, that information can be available to prosecutors and judges for the rest of your life.
First, the good news: there is a way to remove such prejudicial information from your permanent criminal record. It’s called expungement, and North Carolina offers each resident a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to clean up his record. You can even expunge a minor felony conviction under certain circumstances.
The bad news: expungement is a complicated process. The requirements are very strict. You may have to gather and submit a lot of paperwork to the courts. And did we mention it’s something you can do only once?
Is criminal expungement in North Carolina worth all the work?
As criminal defense lawyers in North Carolina, we will tell you this: expungement is crucial. If you can qualify, it is absolutely imperative that you get minor offenses purged from state records.
Having a criminal record in North Carolina imposes huge complications on your life. Getting rid of that record will add to your peace of mind. And that’s what expungement does: it makes your criminal record vanish, forever unavailable to police, prosecutors, or judges.
Here are just four reasons why expungement is in your best interest:
- Employment. Employers can discriminate against people with criminal records in making hiring decisions. People with certain offenses on their records may be barred from holding professional licenses. Expungement erases your record and opens job opportunities that may be closed to you today.
- Schooling. Colleges and graduate schools may take your criminal record into consideration when deciding to admit you. Federal laws also bar some people with drug-related offenses on their criminal record from obtaining financial aid for higher education.
- Personal finance. Have you ever applied for a loan to buy a car or house and been turned down because of your criminal record? Expungement has the potential to end discrimination against you because of your history, and may make more favorable interest rates available when you do secure a loan.
- Future interactions with law enforcement. If you are pulled over for a traffic offense—or, worse, questioned in connection with a more serious crime—police officers will learn of your criminal record. If you’re arrested, prosecutors will be less willing to offer deals when you have a record, and your prior record can mean a tougher or longer punishment if convicted.
Start to clean up your criminal record today
There is no good reason why you should live with a tarnished record one day longer than you have to. Expungement will remove all traces of your record from the North Carolina criminal justice system. Only one secret file will remain, and that will only be used to check whether you have used your once-in-a-lifetime expungement opportunity.
Connect to a trusted criminal defense law firm in Wilmington to begin the process of restoring your good name. Call the office of Speaks Law Firm at 910-341-7570 or (toll-free statewide) at 877-593-4233. We can investigate your situation and tell you if expungement is possible, and then help you prepare and file the necessary paperwork. Pick up the phone today and get the work started!