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Expunctions or Expungements

Greensboro Criminal Record Expungement

Lawyers who help when you need your record cleared

The Clifford Division does a significant number of expungements (sometimes called expunctions) each year in which criminal charges are removed from a client’s record. There are several types of expunctions provided for under North Carolina law and your attorney can decide which you are entitled to and, if you are eligible for more than one, the order in which they should be done.

North Carolina law offers this opportunity to clean up a criminal record for school, employment, housing or personal purposes. This is a lengthy process that may require six months or more to complete. It is a paper process and the client is usually not required to come to court.

We do not handle expunctions outside of North Carolina and we do not handle expunctions outside of Guilford County. If you have multiple charges and need an expunction in Guilford County and another county, we will help coordinate this and handle the Guilford County part.

Many of these expunctions require extensive record searches upfront to determine what expunction statute should be applied. We will do this record search and charge a fee. That fee may be applied to the expunction if the client is eligible.

There are rare occasions when some steps must be taken before the client is eligible for an expunction — for instance, get a motion for appropriate relief if the client did not have an attorney for the underlying charge which resulted in a guilty verdict or if the disposition was a prayer for judgment continued. In these instances, there is a charge for the motion for appropriate relief and for the expunction.

Important change regarding expunctions

The North Carolina General Assembly  passed a law which went into effect on September 1, 2013. Under this new law, a filing fee for 15A-146 expunctions (where the charge is dismissed, or the charge is adjudicated not guilty) of $175.00 was imposed for any expunction where the charge was dismissed through a deferred prosecution.  If the charge was otherwise dismissed or the charge resulted in acquittal, there remains no charge.

The 15A-145 (under 18 misdemeanor conviction after 2 years; under 21 possession of alcohol [depending on date of offense]; and larceny conviction after 15 years for anyone) filing fee changed from $125.00 to $175.00 as well as the following changes--

  • 15A-145.1 (Before 18 gang offenses): Filing fee is now $175.00;
  • 15A-145.2 (Under 21 various drug offenses conditional discharge): Filing fee changed from $65.00 to $175.00;
  • 15A-145.3 (Under 21 toxic vapors and drug paraphernalia dismissed): Filing fee is now $175.00;
  • 15A-145.4 (Non-violent felony conviction under 18): Filing fee is now $175.00.
  • 15A-145.5  (Conviction of non-violent felony or misdemeanor): Filing fee remains at $175.00;

There will be no filing fee for the following expunctions--

  • 15A-145.6 (Prostitution Offenses);
  • 15A-147 (Identity theft);
  • 15A-148 (DNA records after pardon of innocence or reversal and dismissal by appellate court);
  • 15A-149 (Pardon of innocence granted).

These changes went into effect on September 1, 2013.  Anything filed before that date will be under the old fee structure.  Call our office for more information at (336) 574-2788.

Important information about the firm

We handle expunctions in Guilford County only (the charges/charges to be expunged occurred in Guilford County and were adjudicated here). We do sometimes help get charges expunged in other counties where we get another attorney to handle those charges and that attorney is paid (when there are multiple charges that occurred within one year and where at least one of the charges occurred in Guilford County). This is a complex process and we can only handle the Guilford County part of the process.

We do make every attempt to see that everything that can be expunged is expunged. This requires careful gathering of records and it requires that the client let us know that he or she has charges in more than one North Carolina county during a one-year period of time. We also need to know if the client has ever been convicted of a felony anywhere. In order to determine if you are eligible for an expunction or which expunction you are eligible for, we review your criminal record, the level of each offense and whether each offense is eligible.

If you want to review your criminal record:

  • Cost $14.00
  • Download the Right to Review packet and mail it first class to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI)
  • Call the SBI at (919) 662-4509 extension 6266 for assistance

The Guilford County Clerk of Court now charges $25.00 for a certified criminal record check. If the client wishes a certified record check at the end of the expunction process, there will be a $25.00 charge for obtaining one. We will provide the client with a PF3 from the AOC database (not certified) showing what his or her criminal record looks like in Guilford County.

All court fees that are required for an expunction must be paid to our office before the final order for expunction can be entered. This is in addition to the attorney’s fee. You'll need to fill out this form before we can begin the process. It may take between six and 12 months to complete, particularly if Superior Court is involved. The petitioner generally does not have to appear in court.

 

North Carolina expunctions

There are no automatic expunctions in North Carolina. An expunction requires a petition for expunction.

Not all states grant expunctions. The requirements for expunction differ from state to state.

 

Federal expunctions

Federal law does not have a provision for expunction except for a very limited expunction for persons under the age of 21 who were facing drug charges, participated in special probation, and were not actually convicted.

Please note that the federal government does not have to honor a state expunction and the person who got the expunction may have to disclose it in an application for public office or on some license applications.

Juvenile expunctions

North Carolina law does allow for a person who is at least 18 years old to file a petition for expunction of juvenile court records relating to an adjudication of delinquency (N.C.G.S. 7B-3200(a)).

An adjudication for an offense other than one that would have been a Class A, B1, B2, C, D or E felony if committed by an adult is eligible for expunction (N.C.G.S. 7B-3200(b)(1)). The excepted offenses cannot be expunged.

The person applying for this expunction cannot have any convictions other than a traffic offense and may not have subsequently been adjudicated delinquent.

A person who is at least 16 years old may file a petition for expunction of juvenile court records relating to a petition alleging delinquency that was dismissed without an adjudication of delinquency that was dismissed without an adjudication of delinquency (N.C.G.S. 7B-322(h)). It appears that records of a dismissed petition may be expunged even if the person does have other adjudications of delinquency or criminal convictions.

We will make every effort to stay abreast of any changes in expunction laws and we will try to let you know what is happening in this area.

Expunctions that are available in the state of North Carolina

15A-146

Dismissed or not guilty

  • Applies to any felony, any misdemeanor or an 18B-302(i) infraction before 12/01/1999;
  • All charges that occurred within one year or were resolved within one term of court can be expunged (including those in multiple counties);
  • Result was not guilty or the charge was dismissed;
  • Have had no prior expunctions under 15A-145, -145.1, -145.2, -145.3, -145.4, -145.5 or -146;
  • No felony convictions;
  • Court Costs: $175.00 if deferred dismissal, but no cost otherwise.

15A-146(b1)

DNA records after dismissal

  • Must be entitled to 15A-146 on the underlying offense;
  • DNA records were stored in State Databank due to underlying charge;
  • Application must be served on DA 20 days before a hearing;
  • Attach certified order of dismissal;
  • DOJ must send documentation of expunction to defense;
  • Expunction order will not expunge records in the Databank for other offenses.

15A-145(a)

Misdemeanor first offense under 18 or 21

  • Was non-traffic misdemeanor committed before age 18 or possession of alcohol (18B-302 (b)(1)) before age 21;
  • Must wait two years after all probation or DOC sentence is finished (whichever is later);
  • Have no outstanding restitution orders or judgments;
  • No other convictions other than traffic;
  • Court cost: $175.00;
  • Need affidavits;
  • Authorize AOC and DOJ record search;
  • 10-day notice to DA so objections can be made;
  • Probation office may be asked to investigate and verify good conduct.

15A-145.1

Gang offenses

  • Date of offense was before age 18;
  • Class H felony gang offense under N.C.G.S. Article 14, Article 13A or an enhanced offense under N.C.G.S. 14-50.22;
  • No outstanding restitution orders or judgments;
  • No other convictions except traffic;
  • Need affidavits;
  • Authorization for AOC and DOJ record searches;
  • 10-day notice to DA for hearing and chance to object;
  • Conviction or conditional discharge under N.C.G.S. 14-50.29;
  • Probation office may be asked to investigate and verify good conduct;
  • Court Cost: $175.00.

15A-145.2(a)

Under 21 drug offense — conditional discharge and dismissal

  • Not over 21 at time of offense;
  • Charged offense was discharged and dismissed under N.C.G.S. 90-96(a) or (a1);
  • Need affidavits;
  • Authorize AOC and DOJ record searches;
  • Probation office may be asked to investigate and verify good conduct;
  • Court Cost: $175.00.

15A-145.2(b)

Under 21 drug offense — dismissed, not guilty or innocent

  • Not over 21 at time of offense;
  • Charged offense was one of the following:
    • Felony possession of a controlled substance under N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(3) if disposed of on or after 01/01/2012;
    • Felony possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine if disposed of before 01/01/2012;
    • Misdemeanor possession of a Schedule I-VI controlled substance;
  • Charge was dismissed, not guilty, nolle prosequi or other adjudication of innocence;
  • Court cost: $175.00;
  • No affidavits;
  • No record search required.

15A-145.2(c)

First drug conviction under 21

  • Not over 21 when offense occurred;
  • Conviction (whether found guilty or pled guilty);
  • Offense was one of the following:
    • Misdemeanor possession of Schedule I-VI controlled substance;
    • Misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia;
    • Felony possession of a controlled substance under N.C.G.S. 90-95(a)(3) if conviction occurred on or after 01/01/2012;
    • Felony possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine if conviction occurred before 01/01/2012;
  • No other Misdemeanor convictions in North Carolina and no other Felony convictions anywhere within the United States;
  • No possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia convictions anywhere within the United States;
  • Court cost: $175.00;
  • No affidavits required;
  • At least 12 months have passed since the conviction at issue;
  • Of good behavior since conviction at issue;
  • No prior expunction under 15A-145.2(c);
  • Judge may waive the drug education program if there are extenuating circumstances or if there is no program in the immediate area, but otherwise requires completion of a drug education program;
  • Judge may ask probation office to investigate and verify conduct since conviction;
  • Statute does not specifically require AOC and DOJ record searches but the form does;
  • Conviction itself is canceled in addition to being expunged.

15A-145.3(a)

Under 21 toxic vapors offense — conditional discharge and dismissal

  • Not over 21 when offense occurred;
  • Charge was inhaling or possessing a substance prohibited by N.C.G.S. Chapter 90, Article 5A;
  • Offense was discharged and dismissed under 90-113.114(a) or (a1);
  • No convictions other than traffic offense;
  • Of good behavior since the conviction at issue;
  • Court Cost: $175.00;
  • Need client affidavit and two character affidavits;
  • Authorize AOC and DOJ record search;
  • Judge may have probation office verify conduct during probation.

 15A-145.3(b)

Dismissed alcohol or drug paraphernalia charges, under 21

  • Not over 21 when offense occurred;
  • Charge was a misdemeanor (1) under N.C.G.S. Article 5A of Chapter 90 or (2) possession of drug paraphernalia;
  • The charge resulted in a dismissal, nolle prosequi, finding of not guilty, or other adjudication of innocence;
  • Court Cost: $175.00;
  • No affidavits;
  • No record search required.

15A-145.3(c)

First toxic vapors offense, under 21

  • Not over 21 at time of offense;
  • Charged offense was a misdemeanor involving toxic vapors/alcohol under N.C.G.S. Article 5A, Chapter 90;
  • No other Misdemeanor convictions in North Carolina and no other Felony convictions anywhere within the United States;
  • No possession of controlled substances or drug paraphernalia convictions anywhere within the United States;
  • Has been at least 12 months since date of conviction;
  • Has had good behavior since DOC;
  • No other expunctions under 15A-145.3(c);
  • Court cost: $175.00;
  • No affidavits required;
  • Statute does not require AOC and DOC record searches but the form does;
  • Drug program may be waived by judge under extenuating circumstances or if there is no program nearby, otherwise must complete a drug education program;
  • Probation office may be called upon to verify conduct since conviction;
  • Conviction itself is canceled in addition to being expunged.

15A-145.4

Non-violent felony under 18

  • Eligible offense is a non-violent felony, Class H or I;
  • Does not include offenses with assault as an essential element or offenses otherwise enumerated in 15A-145.4(a);
  • Offense committed before age 18;
  • If multiple non-violent offenses:
    • The conviction occurred in same session of court;
    • The date of offense was before client was arrested and charged;
  • No outstanding warrants, pending charges, outstanding restitution orders, or outstanding civil judgments;
  • No other convictions (other than traffic misdemeanors), anywhere in the United States;
  • Must wait four years from conviction or until sentence is fully completed (whichever is later);
  • Must complete 100 hours of community service;
  • Must have GED, high school diploma, or equivalent;
  • Judge has discretion to grant or not grant this expunction;
  • Court Cost: $175.00;
  • Client affidavit and two character affidavits required;
  • Authorize AOC and DOC record searches including pending charges;
  • Notice of hearing and service on DA (attempt to notify victim, has 30 days to object)
  • Judge must have probation office investigate conduct during the four years since conviction;
  • Judge must review juvenile record;
  • Judge must review restitution paid versus amount actually due to victim;
  • Judge must review any relevant information or affidavits;
  • Even if expunction is granted, the conviction must be disclosed for the limited purpose of employment with law enforcement or correctional agencies pursuant to N.C.G.S. 17C or 17E;
  • NOTE/EXCEPTION: Any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the N.C.G.S. where the offense involves methamphetamines, heroin or possession with intent to sell or deliver or sell and deliver cocaine is not a nonviolent felony for purposes of this expunction, except that if a prayer for judgment continued has been entered for an offense classified as either a Class G,H, or I felony, the PJC shall be subject to expunction under the procedures in this section.

15A-145.5

Non-violent felony convictions

  • No age limitation;
  • Conviction, whether found guilty or pled guilty;
  • Any non-violent felony or misdemeanor except:
    • Class A-G felonies or A1 misdemeanors;
    • Any offense where assault is an essential element;
    • Offense requiring registration under Article 27A of Chapter 14 in N.C.G.S. whether or not the person is currently required to register (aka sex offenses);
    • Any sex-related or stalking offense falling under N.C.G.S. 14-27.7A(b), 14-190.7, 14-190.8,14-190.9, 14-202, 14-208.11A, 14-208.18, 14-277.3,14-277.3A or 14-401.16;
    • A felony under Chapter 90 involving meth, heroin or possession with intent to sell and/or deliver cocaine;
    • N.C.G.S. 14-401.16 (contaminate food or drink to render one mentally incapacitated or physically helpless;
    • A felony in which a “commercial” motor vehicle was used in commission of offense;
  • No other misdemeanor or felony convictions (other than a traffic violation) at any time;
    • Exception: Treated as one conviction if non-violent offense 1) occurring in same session of court and 2) other charges not alleged to have occurred after already served with criminal process in first non-violent offense.
  • Has no prior expunctions under N.C.G.S. 15-145, 145.1, 145.2, 145.3 or 145.4
  • Court cost: $175.00 unless indigent filing
  • Not filed earlier than 15 years after the date of conviction or completion of active sentence, probation period, and post-release supervision, whichever occurs last;
  • Client affidavit needed regarding good moral character since convictions, no other convictions other than traffic since, petition is a motion in the cause, no outstanding restitution or civil judgments;
  • Two character affidavits;
  • Authorize DOC and AOC record searches;
  • Notice of hearing to DA; DA must attempt to notify victim (if any), has 30 days to object;
  • Court agrees to grant expunction in its discretion;
  • If court denies the petition, the order must include a finding as to the reason for the denial;
  • Even if the expunction is granted, conviction must be disclosed if applying for employment with law enforcement or correctional agencies pursuant to N.C.G.S. 17C or 17E;
  • Judge may ask probation office to investigate and report conduct post-conviction;
  • Provision does not expunge DNA records and samples;
  • Multiple offenses--
    • May consolidate and expunge multiple non-violent offenses under subsection (b) so long as occurring in same session of court and not alleged to have occurred after criminal process already served in prior offense.

15A-145.6

Prostitution Offenses

  • Conviction, whether found guilty or pled guilty;
  • An offense involving prostitution, in which one of the following is also present--
    • Was a victim of human trafficking or sexual servitude; or
    • No prior convictions for prostitution AND 3 years have passed since the date of conviction or completion of probation, whichever is later; or
    • Received a conditional discharge under 14-204(b).
  • No violent felony or misdemeanor convictions anywhere in the United States;
  • Completion of required affidavits;
  • Of good moral character since the conviction;
  • No outstanding warrants, pending charges, outstanding restitution orders, or civil judgments;
  • No other previous expunctions other than an expunction under this section;
  • Judge must investigate and review relevant conduct since the conviction at issue;
  • Court Cost: $175.00.

15A-147

ID theft victim

  • Charge resulted from identifying information being used without permission
  • Charge resulted in dismissal, NC or conviction being set aside
  • Applies to any felony, misdemeanor or infraction
  • No court cost
  • DMV and DOC must reverse administrative actions taken as a result of the expunged charge
  • DMV must provide a corrected, certified driving record at no cost
  • Insurance company must refund any premiums paid as result of ID theft

15A-148

DNA records after appeal/pardon

  • Conviction was dismissed on appeal or pursuant to a pardon of innocence
  • DNA records/samples were stored in State Databank (Chapter 15SA, Article 13) due to the underlying charge
  • No court cost
  • Clerk must send expunction order and certified copy of the appellate dismissal or pardon to DOJ
  • When complete, DOJ must send documentation of expunction to the defense
  • Expunction order will not expunge records in the Databank for other offenses

15A-149

Pardon of innocence

  • Has pardon of innocence
  • Filing of pardon’s warrant and return is verified by clerk
  • No court cost

15A-266.3A

DNA records obtained upon arrest

  • DNA was obtained upon arrest per 15A-266.3A
  • The charge result was one of the following:
    • Dismissal
    • Acquittal
    • Conviction of lesser included misdemeanor not within 15A-266.3
    • No charges filed within statute of limitations
    • No active prosecution and three years have passed since arrest
  • State is not required to keep DNA by other laws or for unrelated offenses
  • No court cost
  • Give request to prosecuting DA, who prepares AOC-CR-640 and sends to SBI in 30 days
  • Wait for notice from SBI within 30 days of their receipt
  • If expunction denied, file motion in court
  • Record destruction is automatic (without a request) in all situations
  • Despite expunction order, SBI does not have to destroy physical evidence that was obtained from DNA but relates to another person

7B-3200(h)

Juvenile dismissal

  • Applies to petitions alleging delinquency or undisciplined
  • Has reached 16 (if delinquent) or 18 (if undisciplined)
  • Petition was dismissed
  • No court cost
  • Serve on chief court counselor, 10 days to object
  • Expunction order applies to clerk, law enforcement and court counselor records

7B-3200(b)

Juvenile delinquency adjudication

  • Has reached 18
  • Applies to any delinquent offenses other than Class A through E offenses
  • Must wait 18 months from date of release from juvenile court jurisdiction
  • Since date of adjudication, record shows no adult convictions (other than traffic misdemeanors) and no delinquency adjudication
  • No court cost
  • Client affidavit showing good behavior since adjudication, has no subsequent delinquency adjudications or adult convictions other than traffic misdemeanors, petition is a motion in the cause
  • Notice of hearing and service on DA, 10 days to object
  • Expunction order applies to records of clerk and law enforcement agencies only
  • Court counselor or residential facility records are disposed per department rules, but must be kept at least until age 18 or 18 months from release, whichever is later
  • Notwithstanding expunction, can be ordered to disclose the adjudication if testifying in any delinquency proceeding

7B-3200(a)

Juvenile undisciplined adjudication

  • Has reached age 18
  • Applies to any adjudication as undisciplined
  • No court cost
  • Client affidavit stating good behavior since adjudication, has no subsequent delinquency adjudication or adult convictions (other than traffic misdemeanors), petition is a motion in the cause
  • Notice of hearing and service on DA, 10 days to object
  • Expunction order applies to records of clerk and law enforcement agencies only
  • Records of court counselor or any residential facility are disposed per departmental rules, but must be kept at least until the later of age 18 or 18 months from release date

Helping wipe your criminal record clean in Guilford County

Each lawyer at The Clifford Division has the knowledge and experience to pursue expungement on your behalf. A clean record is closer than you think.

Contact us at 336-574-2788 or online to discuss your options with a qualified attorney who wants to help.

Cases We Handle

We Handle:

  • Criminal cases in North Carolina District Court and Superior Court in Guilford County, including Greensboro and High Point
  • 50B and 50C protection order cases in both North Carolina District Courts in Guilford County, including Greensboro and High Point
  • Federal criminal cases
    • Misdemeanors in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina in Greensboro, Winston-Salem and sometimes Statesville and Durham
    • Felonies in all four cities and on a case-by-case basis in any federal court in the United States
  • Federal civil forfeiture cases, post-conviction work and investigations
    on an individual basis
  • Private prosecutions in state court on a case-by-case basis

Awards & Affiliations

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