Can You Expunge a Misdemeanor in North Carolina?
A misdemeanor is any crime considered less serious than a felony and thus is not punished as severely. Misdemeanors include infractions such as petty theft, simple assault, public intoxication, vandalism, or disorderly conduct. In most cases, they result in monetary fines and/or up to twelve months in jail, but do not cause the loss of civil rights, such as such as public offices, professional licenses, or voting.
At Mulligan Epstein Attorneys, our criminal law attorneys are experienced in defending clients who are accused of misdemeanors as well as felonies, and play a key part in their defense, during and after their trials. One of the questions our clients often ask is how they can get a misdemeanor expunged from their record. While misdemeanors are considered “lesser crimes,” they still result in a criminal record. This record will follow them wherever they go, and could affect their future chances of getting into college, getting approved for a rental home or loan, or getting a job. There are also emotional consequences to having a criminal record. Because they’re public information, they can affect a person’s romantic and working relationships, and cause shame and embarrassment for years to come.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you might think it’s already too late. You’ve been charged with a misdemeanor and now you’re stuck with it, right? Wrong. In some cases, it is possible to have a misdemeanor expunged from your record—especially if you’re working with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer such as those at Mulligan Epstein Attorneys.
An “expunction” is a procedure that erases the existence of a criminal charge from a person’s record, except for one confidential file a judge will have access to in only some circumstances.
In North Carolina, you are typically only allowed one criminal record expungement in your lifetime, so it’s important to be careful and choose wisely. Under very limited circumstances, an additional expungement may be possible.
You are eligible for an expungement if the crime was committed by someone who stole your identity, if you were a first time offender under the age of 21 (this only counts for alcohol and drug violations), if your conviction was reversed or dismissed, or if you were pardoned for your crime.
As you can see, expunction laws are very complex and, depending on the misdemeanor, require a number of specific forms and filings. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor and would like to have it expunged from your record, it’s important to complete the process correctly, and an experienced lawyer can certainly help. Contact Mulligan Epstein Attorneys as soon as possible for a consultation. We’ll fight for your rights and do everything in our power to help you put the past behind you and move forward.