North Carolina law permits what is known as expunction or expungement in certain situations. The terms expunction and expungement are often used interchangeably in the state. Expungement is defined as a legal process that removes a criminal conviction or a criminal charge (in the event there was no conviction) from an individual’s record. The record itself is then sealed or destroyed.
Impact of expungement
An expungement permits an individual to honestly state that he or she has not been convicted of or charged with the crime that was successfully addressed through the expunction process. For example, an individual cannot be found guilty of perjury if that person makes a statement under oath that he or she denies conviction for a crime that has been lawfully expunged.
Criminal offenses that can be expunged
There are numerous laws on the books in North Carolina governing expungement. Three broad categories exist in regard to criminal offenses that can be expunged in the state.
First, there are various specific types of crimes that can be expunged. Certain drug possession convictions are a prime example. Second, there are laws that permit expungement for a wider array of violations but for a smaller group of people. For example, there are laws permitting expungement in some situations for people between the ages of 18 to 21 at the time of the underlying offense. Finally, expungement is available in some instances depending on a how a charge resolved. For example, if a person was charged but never prosecuted, that charge might be eligible for expungement.