HOW TO EXPUNGE A NORTH CAROLINA CRIMINAL RECORD & RESTORE FIREARM RIGHTS
Past Mistakes Shouldn’t Hold You Back
Nobody wants a criminal record. They can make it tough to get a job, hard to find a decent place to live, and even take away constitutional rights like your Second Amendment right to own a gun. Once you’ve finished your sentence and paid your debt to society, you shouldn’t be permanently branded and punished for the rest of your life. Fortunately, North Carolina has passed expungement laws to provide relief to many with criminal records. Qualifying for expungement in North Carolina has recently become easier with the passage of its Second Chance Act of 2020, which will go into effect December 1, 2020.
If you’re arrested or charged with a crime in North Carolina, there are many criminal justice agencies that create and maintain your record. The arresting agency, county clerk, Department of Public Safety, and North Carolina Bureau of Investigation create criminal records that typically never go away. This happens even in cases where you’ve been found not guilty, your charges were dismissed, or vacated on appeal. You can be permanently branded with a criminal record for something that you didn’t even do.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has an online criminal records search portal that makes it incredibly easy to find any criminal record. Anyone with an internet connection can find detailed information about some of your most private information in a matter of minutes. The only way to remove your record from criminal justice databases is typically through expungement.
North Carolina law allows for the expungement of arrest records and felony and misdemeanor convictions, arrest records, and also provides a way to restore firearm rights. Our law firm has helped thousands of clients get rid of criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them often. If a criminal record is currently holding you back, keep reading to see if we can help.
Know Your Options
North Carolina provides multiple ways to get rid of or limit the availability of criminal records and restore your Second Amendment rights, so it’s very important to review the specific circumstances surrounding the incidents on your record to determine the best method for you.
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Expunging Convictions in North Carolina
North Carolina State law allows for the expungement of many non-violent misdemeanor and felony convictions. Certain convictions including violent offenses, driving while intoxicated, or sex crimes are serious felonies that are not eligible. You cannot expunge more than one felony conviction, but the Second Chance Act of 2020 now permits the expungement of more than one non-violent misdemeanor. If you qualify for expungement, North Carolina will delete the criminal record and treat you as though the conviction did not occur. If there is nothing else restricting your firearm rights, an expungement will also restore your firearm rights.
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Expunging Arrest Records in North Carolina
The Second Chance Act of 2020 made a very important change for criminal records that did not result in a conviction. For acquittals and dismissals entered on or after December 1, 2021, the arrest record will be automatically expunged. This is a great development, because arrest records disposed of before that date can be a bit more difficult to deal with. This is usually the route you want to take when your charges were dismissed, you were arrested and never charged, you were found not guilty, your conviction was overturned on appeal, or you were given deferred prosecution.
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North Carolina Firearm Rights Restoration
North Carolina law provides two main ways to restore your firearm rights. Unless there is another reason your Second Amendment rights have been restricted, expunging a felony conviction will restore your firearm rights. If your felony conviction does not qualify for expungement, North Carolina provides a separate firearm restoration process under GS 14-415.4 that will restore your firearm rights without expunging your record. Restoring firearm rights involves both state and federal law, so it can be somewhat more complicated to accomplish.
This Information is for You
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
Legal Effects of Sealing and Expunging North Carolina Records
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each. North Carolina law permits the expungement of conviction, juvenile, and arrest records, and it also allows you to restore firearm rights. There is a wide range of different legal methods to deal with your criminal record, so for more specific information for each method, please go to the page specific to that post-conviction remedy.
How will expunging my conviction or arrest record help me get a job?arrow_drop_down
The answer to this question depends on what you legally qualify for, but each of the criminal record services discussed above should be very helpful in obtaining a job.
Expunging a conviction is the best way to improve your chances of obtaining a job with a criminal record. Expunging your conviction deletes your record, releases you from the judgement of guilt, and allows you to legally state that you have not been convicted of the expunged conviction in almost all cases. However, if you are seeking employment in law enforcement or seeking certification by a state agency, North Carolina law permits may require you to disclose your conviction.
Juvenile records are more difficult for others to access, but they can certainly create difficulty in obtaining employment. Expungement of juvenile delinquencies or convictions have a similar effect to expungements for adult crimes.
Arrest records are not as much of a barrier to employment as convictions, but it is certainly preferable to not have any records. While it is illegal for an employer to discriminate in most cases for an arrest record, you can’t affect an employer’s perception in making their hiring decision, so expunging an arrest record should help your employment prospects.
How can I restore my Second Amendment right to own and possess a firearm?arrow_drop_down
Not everybody with a conviction in North Carolina can restore their constitutional right to own or possess firearms, but North Carolina law provides two accessible methods for restoration.
Expunging a felony conviction is typically the best way to restore your firearm rights in North Carolina. In addition to restoring your Second Amendment rights, it also expunges your conviction in the public record, which has a host of other benefits unrelated to firearm rights.
When you can’t expunge your felony conviction, you may be able to restore your firearm rights by using a separate process under GS 14-415.4. This method of restoring your firearms does not expunge or seal your conviction, but it does restore your firearm rights under both state and federal law.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in North Carolina on our North Carolina Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
What You Need to Do to Get Rid of Your Record
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out which criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in North Carolina include:
- Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- Restoring your Second Amendment right to bear arms
- No longer being treated as a felon
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of North Carolina’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine which North Carolina criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of North Carolina criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of an North Carolina criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all North Carolina state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!