In the legal world, many terms one might hear can be used interchangeably. Understandably, this can cause some confusion for individuals who are not familiar with the terms or use them frequently. For example, expunction versus expungement; in North Carolina, these two words mean the same thing in a court of law.
When a person is seeking an expunction or expungement, it means they wish to have criminal convictions or charges removed from their records. It also means they want their criminal records to be destroyed or sealed. Both adults and juveniles may request expungements.
There are specific eligibility requirements one must meet to qualify for an expunction. Whether someone meets the requirements depends on the charge or conviction the individual wants removed, and if he or she has more than one charge or conviction — among various other things. A criminal defense attorney will have the ability to review the finer details of one’s case and, if appropriate, help one file for an expungement under the appropriate statute — of which there are many.
North Carolina residents who are interested in filing for expunctions and meet the qualifications for one may be able to do so either directly after their charges have been dismissed, or convictions have been handed down. In some cases, it may be necessary to wait a few years. It all depends on the details of one’s case. Legal counsel can help determine if a person qualifies for expungement and, if he or she does, provide assistance petitioning for one when the appropriate waiting period has passed.