How Do I Clean Up My Criminal Record

I Made Some Mistakes in the Past:  What Are My Options? How Do I Clean Up My Criminal Record

  • Sometimes people assume matters automatically drop off a record after the expiration of time
  • While that may be true in some states, North Carolina has specific rules and policies regarding clearing a record
  • In North Carolina, we refer to “cleaning up a record” as an expunction or expungement
  • The process of obtaining an expunction can be complicated and subject to several conditions for eligibility


Even if a matter has been dismissed, there are times when an arrest record can cause problems – Bill Powers 



How To Answer Job Application Questions About Criminal Charges


See More:  How To Answer Job Application Questions About Criminal Charges



How Do I Clean Up My Criminal Record – Is It Automatic?  Are There Restrictions?

Put simply, while most people understand the value of a clean record, sometimes they do not understand that it not necessarily an automatic thing.  In fact, there are times where as attorneys we have to provide bad news.

There are times that “cleaning up” a criminal record just is not possible given the type of offense or historical basis of intervening cases.  At times one may become eligible over the passage of time and considering the age of the offender.

The first thing we do as attorneys is determine eligibility.  It is very important to review the prior history, record, and some factual issues surrounding the charge(s) – Bill Powers 

Expunction of Records No Age Restriction 2016


Expungement Expunction of Records Law in North Carolina 2016


  • We offer a confidential consultation, free of charge
  • We will review your record to determine eligibility for an expunction

North Carolina Expunction Statutes Reference Materials 2016

Expunction of Records in North Carolina – Are You Eligible?

  • How Old Were You at the Time of the Offense?
  • Were You Arrested?
  • We You Convicted?
  • What Class of Offense?
  • Can a Prayer for Judgment PJC be Expunged?
  • Have You Ever Been Charged with Other Offenses?
    • North Carolina?
    • Other States?
  • Have You Ever Had a Matter Expunged in the Past?
  • Do Traffic Violations Count?


See More:  What Happens When Convicted of a Felony


North Carolina Constitution



See More:  New North Carolina Expunction of Records Law



Transcript for Hearing Impaired



Modified Transcript of “How Do I Clean Up My Criminal Record?” for the Hearing Impaired

Hi, I’m Bill Powers and I’m continuing the series of answering questions for people. These are general questions we see on list-serves and different posts online, so they don’t necessarily apply to a particular client.

The first inquiry is generally asking a question:  How can I get the charges dropped off my driving record if I wasn’t convicted of those charges?

Apparently this person had a couple tickets for an expired registration and two DWI cases within a certain time period. They’re showing up on a record and it’s affecting work, as people are looking up I guess for employment purposes.

As some background, it looks like there were two tickets for expired registration, two prior DWI charges within a certain time period that were dismissed, and now apparently all four charges are still showing up on the report and in applying for jobs it’s causing problems with work or finding a job.

That’s a mouthful and there are certainly several different issues that are important to consider.

I think most notably what people are generally asking about is something called an expunction, or sometimes referred to as an expungement.

It’s relevant to consider the fact that an expunction or an expungement applies primarily to the court system, what is kept by the clerk of court in any particular jurisdiction.

On the more important issue, the question is can someone have a prior record removed, a prior arrest maybe and the paperwork and the things like that?

Expunctions or expungements are somewhat complicated and there are some important limitations.

Generally speaking, if a person has had two prior offenses, neither of which are convicted, that’s good. If you want to get the arrest documentation removed, what we do is we go to the judge assigned to these things in a particular jurisdiction.

That judge, through the paperwork we prepare, orders the State Bureau of Investigation, the SBI of North Carolina, to do a background check to check on the records to see if someone has had an expunction before, and then that is reported back to the judge.

Assuming someone is eligible for an expunction or expungement, then we prepare documentation and a judge signs off on an order directing the local agencies to basically purge all their documentation.

There are some important considerations here.

  • First, you’ve got to be eligible. We provide a free review to people, and part of that review process is determining what charges, if any, may or may not be eligible for an expunction.
  • Secondly is the process of obtaining the documentation and the materials, the background.
  • Third is getting all those materials out to the different statewide agencies.

We encourage people and tell people get moving on this when you become eligible. It can take some time. It’s complicated, it’s time-consuming, and I encourage you give us a ring. We offer a free consultation. It’s confidential. We’ll take a look at your record. We’ll have some conversations with you about your priors. We’ll pull up different things in North Carolina on the computer system and see if we can help. I look forward to hearing from you, and great question.

Contact Information