There are new expungement rules in North Carolina, which is good news for people burdened with certain kinds of criminal charges.

If you qualify for record expungement, you will be able to have a clean criminal record and, in turn, a much brighter future.

What it means

A criminal record affects your reputation and casts a long shadow over your future. It is very easy for a recruiter, an employer or a landlord to perform a background check on you, to your detriment. For example, a conviction for a drug crime may have happened years ago, but it remains on your record for anyone to see, and it may prevent you from getting a new job, renting an apartment or obtaining a professional license as a teacher or nurse.

An expungement will wipe the record clean. If someone asks if there is a criminal conviction in your past, you can truthfully say no.

Charges eligible for expungement

In North Carolina, there are several criminal charges that qualify for expungement:

  • Charges dismissed by a judge
  • Dismissed or “not guilty” DWI charges
  • Dismissed or “not guilty” assault charges
  • Misdemeanor larceny and theft charges after five years have elapsed for an adult or two years for those under the age of 18
  • Certain drug charges depending on the type of charge and age of the defendant at the time of the offense

The benefits for you

Because of the damage the existence a criminal record can do to a person’s life, every state offers record expungement in some form. If you have met conditions such as the payment of fines or restitution and completed the waiting period requirement before petitioning the court for expungement, you may be several steps closer to having a clean record. It will be as if the charges that clouded your life never happened–and that is indeed a good start to a brighter future.