One of the consequences of being convicted of a crime, such as a drug crime, is that the conviction goes on one’s criminal record. Having a conviction on one’s record can impact many things, including a person’s employment and housing opportunities. Thus, a blemished record can make it so a person can be feeling the effects of a conviction long after they have served their sentence.
There is a process in which a past criminal conviction can be removed from a person’s record. This process is called expunction.
There are a great many eligibility requirements when it comes to expunction here in North Carolina. For a detailed description of these requirements, see our article, “Expunction offers a fresh start to many nonviolent North Carolina offenders.”
In this post, we will touch on a couple of the major requirements.
First of all, only certain types of offenses are eligible for expunction. Generally, an offense has to be nonviolent to qualify for expunction, but not all nonviolent offenses are eligible. One example of offenses that are ineligible for expunction are felony offenses regarding heroin or meth.
Also, the offense has to have been a person’s first offense. Additionally, a person is not eligible for an expunction if they have had a previous expunction.
Another requirement is that a certain amount of time needs to pass following the conviction (generally, 15 years) before a person is eligible to request an expunction regarding the conviction.
An important thing to note is that meeting all the eligibility requirements does not guarantee a person will receive an expunction, it simply means they are allowed to ask for one. Whether or not an expunction is granted in response to a valid request is up to the court’s discretion.
The fact that expunction eligibility in part depends on the type of offense involved underscores the point that what specific charge a person is facing can have impacts on many different things beyond just what potential sentences they could be given. Thus, the type of charges a case involves is one of the things it is very important to pay close attention to when in criminal proceedings. Defense attorneys can review the charges a person is facing, inform them of the potential implications of the charges and fight to have the charges dropped or reduced if the prosecution has failed to present sufficient evidence in support of the charges.