If a person is charged with a crime in North Carolina and the charge is dismissed or a finding of not guilty is entered, that person may apply to the court in the county where the charge was brought for an order to expunge from all official public records any entries related to his/her apprehension or trial, pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A 145-146. A crime is either a misdemeanor or felony. Most traffic violations are infractions and do not qualify for Expungement.
To obtain an Expungement in Wake County, you are required to submit the following forms to the Wake County Expungement Clerk:
The fee has been eliminated for most Expungements. 3-4-2005
After the Expungement Clerk receives the Expungement paperwork, the Clerk will send it to the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) for an extensive criminal record check in all 100 counties. The paperwork will then be sent to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to verify that an Expungement was not done previously. Then, if the court verifies that you have not previously received an Expungement under N.C.G.S. 15A-145, 15A 146 or N.C.G.S. 90-96, and you have not previously been convicted of any felony or misdemeanors, other than a traffic violation, under the laws of the United States, North Carolina or any other state, a Wake County District Court Judge will sign an order directing that all public entries related to the expunged offense be purged from the public records of the court, and direct that all law enforcement agencies bearing record of the same expunge their public records. The Expungement Clerk will forward a certified copy of the Expungement Order to the Sheriff, Chief of Police, or other arresting agency. The head of the arresting agency shall transmit a copy of the Expungement Order to the State Bureau of Investigation, and they will forward a copy to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For purposes of Federal records, such as the FBI, the Expungement only relates to state public records.
Once an Order of Expungement has been issued, all official records relating to the expunged offense should be purged, except for a confidential file that is to be retained by the AOC. The information contained in this file shall be disclosed only to Judges of the General Court of Justice in North Carolina for the purpose of ascertaining whether any person charged with an offense has been previously granted an Expungement.
Alcohol and Drugs:
In Wake County, if a person pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of a misdemeanor alcohol, marijuana or paraphernalia offense, the Court may, without entering a judgement of guilt and with the consent of such person, defer further proceedings and place him/her on probation with the condition that he/she participate in a alcohol/drug education program approved by the Department of Human Resources. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of his/her probation and the alcohol/drug education program, the court will discharge such person and dismiss the proceedings against him/her. If the person was not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense, he/she may apply to the Court for an Expungement pursuant to N.C.G.S. 90-96. The current cost for the court approved alcohol class is $150.
A person who has not been previously convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession or possession of drug paraphernalia in violation of N.C.G.S. 90-113.21, may apply to the court, not sooner than 12 months after their conviction, for an order canceling the judgment of conviction and expunging all of the records of the individual's arrest, indictment, or information trail and conviction.
All Other Misdemeanors:
In Wake County, if a person pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of a misdemeanor other than drugs, alcohol, marijuana or paraphernalia offense that does not involve a DMV violation or violence, the Court may, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of such person, defer further proceedings and place him/her on probation with the condition that he/she participate in community service approved by the Department of Human Resources. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of his/her probation and the community service program, the court will discharge such person and dismiss the proceedings against him/her. If the person was not over 21 years of age at the time of the offense, he/she may apply to the Court for an Expungement pursuant to N.C.G.S. 15A-145, 146. The current requirement for community service is 75 hours at a cost of $200.
In Wake County, Expungement requests are handled by mail, and they do not require a court appearance. However, the Expungement procedures and the court fees for an Expungement vary county to county. Some counties may require the submission of affidavits and/or a court appearance.
In North Carolina, an individual is only entitled to one Expungement in a lifetime. Therefore, before applying for an Expungement, you should give the matter some consideration.
IDENTITY FRAUD EXPUNGEMENT: If a person is named in a charging instrument for an infraction or crime, as a result of another person using their identity information of the named person to commit an infraction or crime, and the charge against the named person is dismissed, a finding of not guilty is entered or the conviction is set aside, the named person may apply by petition or written notion to the court where the charge was last pending by utilizing AOC-CR-263 for an order expunging from all official records any entries relating to the persons apprehension, charge or trial period.
The court, after notice of the District Attorney, shall hold a hearing on the motion or petition, and upon finding that the person's identity was used without permission and the charges were dismissed or the person was found not guilty, the court shall order an Expungement.
The court shall also order that the entries be expunged from the records of the court and direct all law enforcement agencies, the Division of Motor Vehicles, or any other state or local government agencies bearing record of the same to expunge their records of the entry. The clerk shall forward a copy of the certified copy of the order to the Sheriff, Chief of Police, or other charging agency; and when applicable to the Division of Motor Vehicles and to any other state or local agency. The Sheriff, Chief, or head of such other charging agency shall submit a copy of the order to the State Bureau of Investigation, and the State Bureau of Investigation shall forward the order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The cost of expunging these records shall not be taxed against the petitioner.
The Division of Motor Vehicles shall expunge from its records entries made as a result of the charge or conviction or an Expungement for identity fraud. The Division of Motor Vehicles shall also reverse any administrative actions taken against the person whose record is expunged for identity fraud, including the assessment of drivers license points and drivers license suspension or revocations. The Division of Motor Vehicle shall reinstate, at no cost, any driver's license suspended or revoked as a result of a charge or conviction expunged for identity fraud, and they shall provide the petitioner with a free certified corrected driver's history and reinstate no cost any drivers license suspended or revoked as a result of a charge or conviction expunged for identity fraud.
An insurance company that charged an addition premium based on insurance points assessed against a policyholder as a result of a charge or conviction that was expunged for identity fraud shall refund those additional premiums to the policyholder upon notification of the Expungement (NCGS 15A-147).
This is general information about Expungements and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice as it relates to your particular situation. Consult with our office to discuss how your particular facts relate to the law.