Having a criminal record can have a negative effect on family relationships, one’s ability to secure quality housing and even one’s ability to find a decent job — among other things. Thankfully, by applying for expungements, individuals will be able to clear their records, which can certainly help them as they try to move forward in life. Here are a few things North Carolina residents need to know about expungements.

First, not everyone who applies for an expungement will have their request approved. Second, there is no set timeline for how long achieving an expungement can take. The reality of the situation is that getting a charge or conviction cleared from one’s record is a time-consuming, multi-step process .

Third, with or without the assistance of legal counsel, anyone who wants to file for an expungement has to do it by filing the appropriate forms. These forms must be submitted to the court in the same county where the arrest occurred. If the forms are missing any of the required information, one’s request will be denied. This information includes:

  • Docket numbers
  • Dispositions
  • Charges
  • Personal information
  • Court information

While North Carolina residents are free to file for expungements on their own, it is not recommended. There is no room for error here. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help one determine if expungement is an option and under which statute, fill out and file the appropriate forms, present one’s case in court and, if needed, appeal if the request fails to achieve approval.