Having a criminal record in North Carolina has the potential to make many aspects of your life harder. Depending on what that record contains, it may make it difficult for you to find housing or lock down a job, among other possible negative effects. However, in some cases, you may have the option of having your record expunged.
Per the North Carolina courts, pursuing an expungement, or expunction, is one potential way you might be able to minimize the damage your criminal record is currently causing you.
What expunction does
Expunction means the state either seals or destroys records relating to your criminal charge or conviction so that they become unavailable to the public. In other words, if a potential landlord runs a background check on you, the details of your offense do not show up following expunction. Thus, they no longer present a barrier to finding housing, employment and so on. Expunction also, in most cases, gives you the right to deny that the offense or conviction ever took place. However, prosecutors and law enforcement officials may still be able to access your records.
What expunction does not do
There are certain limits to what expunging your record might do. For example, if you are living in the United States as an immigrant and are in the midst of immigration proceedings, your offense or conviction may come into play even if you received an expunction.
North Carolina recognizes a series of different expungement statutes. Whether your offense is eligible for expunction depends on several factors, including the nature of the offense, how long ago it occurred and whether you are currently facing any criminal charges, among others.