Common misconceptions about expungement

On Behalf of Griffin Law, PLLC |

Mar 08, 2024 |

Expungement allows individuals to remove certain offenses or convictions from their criminal records.

However, individuals who want a new start should understand the common misunderstandings surrounding the legal process of expungement.

Expungement erases all records

One of the most prevalent misconceptions about expungement is that it completely wipes clean a person’s record. This is not entirely accurate. Expungement typically removes certain offenses from public view, but it does not erase them entirely. Law enforcement and government agencies may still have access to these records under certain circumstances.

Expungement guarantees a clean slate

While expungement can certainly improve one’s record and open up opportunities, it does not guarantee that all consequences of past actions will disappear. For instance, some employers and licensing boards may still consider expunged offenses during background checks.

Expungement is a quick fix

Expungement is often portrayed as a quick and easy solution to past legal issues. However, the reality is that the expungement process can be complex and time-consuming. It typically involves paperwork, court appearances and waiting periods.

Expungement is available for all offenses

Some people mistakenly believe that expungement is an option for any type of offense. However, this is not the case. Eligibility for expungement depends on various factors, including the nature of the offense, the individual’s criminal history and the jurisdiction’s laws. In North Carolina, minor or misdemeanor infractions, such as drug, gang, nonviolent, prostitution, alcohol and identity theft offenses, may qualify, especially for individuals who were younger than 18 or 21 when the offense occurred. Certain serious offenses, such as violent crimes, may not be eligible for expungement.

While expungement can be beneficial in many cases, it may not be the right option for everyone, particularly if the benefits do not measure up to the time and effort required to pursue this process.



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