In North Carolina, charges do not disappear from your record after a certain amount of time. You have to actively petition to get charges removed from your criminal record.
However, not all charges are eligible for expunction. The nature of your charges will determine if and when you can wipe your record clean.
Although they stay on your record, you can remove dismissed charges almost immediately. There is no waiting period for dismissed charges or charges where the jury found you not guilty. There is also no limit on how many dismissed charges you can expunge. However, this rule does not apply if you signed an agreement that forbids you from seeking expunction of that specific charge.
Generally, most non-violent convictions are eligible for expunction after the designated waiting period, but there are some exceptions. The waiting period for drug convictions depends on the class of drug, the amount of the drug and the age at which you received the charge. DWI convictions and violent crime convictions are not eligible for expunction.
Most misdemeanors have a waiting period of five years before you can petition for an expunction. However, if you received a conviction while you were a minor, you may only have to wait two years.
The waiting period for felonies is at least ten years. You can only qualify if you do not have another felony on record and your conviction was a Class H or Class I felony. You cannot expunge other felonies.
Knowing your expunction eligibility and adhering to your waiting period can help you clear your criminal record.