Mr. Eastman serves as the firm’s managing partner, and is licensed to practice law in California, Oregon, and Texas.
Sam has helped thousands of clients expunge, seal, and set-aside records across the country, and has a passion for criminal justice reform. Previously, Mr. Eastman represented a number of corporate clients, focusing on tax law, mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of corporate transactions.
Mr. Eastman earned his JD and LLM from the University of San Diego School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon.
EXPUNGEMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA ARREST RECORDS
If You Weren’t Convicted, You Shouldn’t Be Treated Like a Criminal
If you’re reading this and have a criminal record, I’m pretty sure that you want to get rid of it. This is especially true when you weren’t even convicted of the crime for which you were charged. It may not be fair, but your record will show up on a background check, even if your charges were dismissed, you were found not guilty, your conviction was overturned, or you were otherwise found not responsible.
These types of records aren’t as bad as convictions, but they can still make life harder for you. Arrest records make getting jobs and finding a place to live harder. More than anything, they’re embarrassing and unfair. If you weren’t convicted of a crime, it shouldn’t show up on a background check or an internet search.
If you’re arrested or charged with a crime in North Carolina, there are multiple criminal justice agencies that create and maintain your record. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has an online criminal records search portal that makes it incredibly easy to find any criminal record. An expungement removes your record from these types of databases, making your arrest record and related documents no longer available.
Thankfully, North Carolina law provides a way to expunge these types of records, and, if your expungement is granted, you will be treated as if you were never arrested or charged, and the court shall issue an order expunging all of the records relating to the case. Until recently, any prior convictions often prevented this type of expungement. However, North Carolina’s Second Chance Law of 2020 recently removed these restrictions, making many with these types of records now eligible for expungement.
Our law firm has helped thousands of clients get rid of criminal records of every kind, and we hear success stories from them all the time. If this type of criminal record in North Carolina is currently holding you back, keep reading to see if we can help.
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.
Do You Qualify to Expunge Your Arrest Record?
North Carolina law allows for the expungement of most criminal records without a finding of guilt. When we’re discussing this part of the law, we’re talking about when the end result of your case didn’t end up in a conviction. These are the types of situations:
- Your charges were dismissed;
- You were acquitted or found not guilty at trial;
- Your conviction was overturned on appeal;
- You successfully completed deferred prosecution;
- Your charges were dismissed after successful conditional discharge; or
- You completed drug court and received deferred prosecution or discharge and dismissal.
1. Expunging Charges That Were Dismissed or Not Guilty Verdicts and Appealsarrow_drop_down
The general requirements to expunge a criminal record that was dismissed are found in G.S. 15A-146 and are fairly straightforward. The main thing to consider is whether you were charged with a single crime or more than one criminal offense. This includes any records or entries relating to your arrest or other criminal proceedings.
When All You Have is a Dismissal on Your Record
If you have only been charged with one crime, and that charge was dismissed, you are entitled to an order to expunge that record.
Dismissals When You Have More on Your Record
If you have been charged with more than one crime and all of them have been dismissed, the court must expunge each of the dismissed charges. However, if you have been charged with more than one crime and you were either convicted of one or more crime, or you have charges that have not been resolved, the court has discretion as to whether to expunge your dismissals.
When You Have Been Found Not Guilty
If you’ve been found guilty the court must expunge that criminal record under G.S. 15A-146. Unlike dismissed records, it does not matter if you were convicted of other charges, and the expungement must be granted.
Automatic Expungements Under New Law
If your charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty or not responsible of a crime on or after December 1, 2021, North Carolina’s Second Chance Law of 2020 may automatically expunge your criminal record if the following are both true:
- All charges in the case were disposed of after December 1, 2021; and
- All charges in the case are dismissed without leave, dismissed by the court, or resulted in a finding of not guilty or not responsibility.
2. Deferred Prosecution or Discharge and Dismissalarrow_drop_down
When you’ve successfully completed Deferred Prosecution or Discharge and Dismissal for a Class H, Class I, or a misdemeanor, you can generally expunge your record under G.S. 15A-146 as if your charges have been dismissed. However, if you were placed on Deferred Prosecution or Discharge and Dismissal for impaired driving on or after December 1, 2015, you may not expunge the record even after successful completion and dismissal.
Deferred Prosecution is a type of diversion that occurs prior to the entry of a plea, so, upon the successful completion of this type of diversion, you can typically expunge the record as if it was simply dismissed.
Discharge and Dismissal
Discharge and Dismissal is similar to deferred prosecution, but instead requires the entry of a guilty plea before the probation begins. Upon the successful completion of the terms of probation, the court discharges the guilty plea and dismisses the charges. Once the dismissal is entered, you can typically expunge the record as if it was simply dismissed.
Qualifying for These Types of Diversion
- Consent of the court and prosecutor
- No prior felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude
- You have never been placed on probation before
- You are unlikely to commit another offense other than a Class 3 misdemeanor
Legal Effects of Expunging Your North Carolina Arrest Record
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.
How will expunging this type of criminal record help me get a job?arrow_drop_down
Expunging your arrest record in North Carolina is currently one of the best ways to improve your chances at obtaining employment with a criminal record. With an expungement, most employers will not be able to see any records related to the expunged arrest, and anyone with an expunged record is not required to disclose the contents of the expunged record, or even that they have expunged a record.
Will expunging this type of record restore my Second Amendment right to own and possess a firearm?arrow_drop_down
Since these types of criminal records are not convictions, they should not restrict your Second Amendment right to own a firearm in the first place. As a result, expunging them shouldn’t have an effect. In contrast, expunging a conviction in North Carolina often will restore your firearm rights.
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 Arrest 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 Arrest 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
- 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 a North Carolina criminal record.