Landlords and property managers may check your criminal record to judge whether or not you are an ideal candidate to become a tenant at their property. Often, property owners use criminal records to gain a glimpse into the character of potential tenants. And more often than not, if you have a criminal charge on your record, it may mar your chances of renting a property at which you’d like to live.
Universities may also check your criminal record. Often, universities scan applicants’ criminal records to look for charges that could create an issue for the school down the line. Since new students tend to stay on school property (i.e. campus dorms), schools often strive to keep their student housing free from individuals who have been convicted or charged with crimes. Universities are especially cautious to accept applicants who have sexual offense charges, drug or alcohol related charges, or violent crime charges.
or you were judged innocent in the case, then you can see how these criminal checks may seem unfair. Fortunately, you can expunge your record to ensure that any school that you apply to will not reject you on the basis of your criminal record.
We live in a highly social, interconnected world. If your reputation is at stake due to a charge that is on your record, it may be best to have it expunged as quickly as possible. Criminal records are available to the public, and a criminal charge — even if it was dropped or you were ruled innocent — can damage your image in the eyes of the public, your friends, and your family members. Expunging your record provides you with the peace of mind that nobody will learn about a previous charge.
In general, charges that have resulted in a not guilty verdict and charges that have been dismissed may be expunged from your record. In addition, certain misdemeanor and felony convictions may be expunged, after a given timeframe. If an individual was convicted of a misdemeanor charge and sentenced over five years ago, or, if an individual was convicted of a felony charge and sentenced over ten years ago, they may be eligible to have their record expunged. That said, certain crimes cannot be expunged, including many violent or sex-related crimes.
Although this is not a complete list, the following charges may be eligible for expungement after the aforementioned timeframe: disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of stolen goods, damage to property, small sales of controlled substances, embezzlement, obtaining property through false pretenses, and larceny. In any case, a judge will decide whether or not an expungement petition results in record expungement.
If you’ve been convicted of a violent offense, or if you have been convicted of an offense which results in required registration on the Sex Offender Registry, then you cannot have your record expunged.
As of December 1, 2017, individuals may have multiple charges expunged in their lifetime. Plus, an individual may have multiple charges expunged if they were charged at the same time for these charges (which are often related). For instance, you may be charged with possession of marijuana at the same time that you are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and you may be tried for both charges at the same time. In these instances, it may be possible to have your record expunged if the charges are dropped or if you earn a not guilty verdict.
Possibly. In certain court cases, a judge will offer a deferral agreement to have the charges dismissed. In these instances, an individual must fulfill all of the requirements of the deferral agreement — then they may be eligible to have their record expunged of the charge.
However, there are also draft deferral agreements that do not allow for expungement of the charge. If you are issued a deferral agreement for a violence-related crime, for instance, then you may not be able to expunge your record of the charge, even if the deferral results in a dismissal of the charge.
For most charges that result in guilty convictions, expungement is not a possibility. That said, if you have been convicted of a crime, and 5 years (for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies) have passed since your sentencing or completion of sentencing requirements, you may be eligible to have your record expunged of a guilty conviction. There are also a variety of requirements for individuals who seek this type of expungement (see Expungement Qualifications for Those Who Have Been Convicted of a Criminal Offense, above). In addition, a judge may still not grant you an expungement, even if you petition to have your record expunged after 5 years (for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies) past the sentencing. Violent crime convictions cannot be expunged for the lifetime of an individual.
Yes. Minors have a bit more leeway in attaining expungements here in North Carolina. If an individual was a minor when they commited a crime, they may be eligible to have said conviction expunged once they reach the age of 18. That individual may not have been charged with any crime in the last two years, and they must fulfill a variety of other criteria (see Expungement Qualifications for Charges by Minors, listed above).
Once a petition for expungement is in order, it may take anywhere from six to nine months to complete the process. During this time, your record will still show the petitioned charge.