Expunction of Nonviolent Offenses: Basic Guide
Session Law 2012-191, effective December 1, 2012, allows for expunction of first-time nonviolent misdemeanors and low-level felonies 15 years after completion of an individual’s sentence. The following is a basic guide to the new law.
Types of Offenses Eligible for Expunction under §15A-145.5:
- misdemeanors (except A1 misdemeanors)
- type H and I felonies (Current NC Felony Classifications)
- Please be aware that these classifications may have changed over time—the court will likely determine eligibility based on the classification at the time you were convicted
Exceptions (the following offenses are NOT eligible for expunction):
- offenses containing assault as an essential element
- certain sex-related or stalking offenses
- offenses involving methamphetamine, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver cocaine
- offenses involving racial intimidation (burning crosses)
- please see the law for other offenses that are not eligible
Individuals with more than 1 misdemeanor or felony conviction are not eligible for expunction unless the multiple convictions occurred in the same session of court.
Individuals may petition the court at least 15 years after the conviction date or after any active sentence, probation or post-release supervision has been served, whichever is later.
- Form: You must submit a completed petition form (AOC-CR-281) to the court of clerk in the county where the offense occurred. For further instructions regarding the petition form please see here: AOC-CR-281i.
- Fee: $175 (low-income individuals may avoid this fee by filing a petition for indigent status)
- Affidavits: Certain affidavits are required to be submitted with the petition form, including:
- an affidavit by petition that the petition has been of good moral character since the date of conviction for the nonviolent misdemeanor or felony conviction and has not been convicted of any other felony or misdemeanor, other than a traffic violation under the laws of the United States or the law of this state or any other state
- Affidavits of two persons who are not related to the petitioner or to each other by blood or marriage, that they know the character and reputation of the petitioner in the community in which the petitioner lives and that the petitioner’s character and reputation are good.
- A statement that the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted.
- An affidavit by the petitioner that no restitution orders or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution entered against the petitioner are outstanding.
- Notice: Once the petition is submitted to the Clerk of Court, the request then goes to the District Attorney’s office, which has 30 days to decide whether to object to the expunction. The district attorney also must make his best efforts to notify the victim of the crime, if one exists. A hearing on the matter will then be scheduled.
If a hearing on the matter is successful, the petitioner’s record is wiped clean, both in court and law enforcement records.