Sealing Criminal Records To Put Your Past Behind You
You have served your sentence and “paid your debt to society.” Yet that criminal conviction on your record continues to haunt you. The good news is that you may qualify for expunction to clear your record to prevent a past arrest or conviction from hampering your future.
Expunction is a complex legal petition that is not automatically granted. The lawyer at Hale Law Firm, PC, can determine whether you are eligible and, if so, shepherd your case through the courts. Attorney Robert Hale Jr. will bring more than 30 years of criminal law experience to your case. He helps individuals in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina expunge their past mistakes.
What Is Expunction?
Expunction, also known as expungement, is a legal process to seal or destroy records of old arrests, formal charges and/or convictions. If your petition is granted, those records will not be visible to the public and will not show up on a criminal background check. On job applications or other queries, you can legally deny that you were ever arrested, charged or convicted (for that offense) as if it never happened.
Offenses That Are Eligible for Expungement
Each case is unique. It may depend on the specific offense, the disposition of your case, how old you were at the time and other factors. Some convictions (such as sex crimes and aggravated assault) are never eligible, but many lesser crimes may qualify, including drug possession, shoplifting and other misdemeanors as well as nonviolent felonies such as identity theft. There are many more eligible crimes too numerous to list here.
If your case was dismissed or you were found not guilty – even for a serious felony – you might be able to seal the arrest records. It is also possible to expunge parallel records, such as a DNA sample, if you were cleared of the crime. Mr. Hale can gauge whether your particular offense would qualify.
How Does The Expungement Process Work?
If the charges were dismissed, you may be able to seek expungement immediately. If you were convicted at trial or entered a plea agreement, then you may have to wait a certain period after completing your sentence or satisfying court requirements. Under the revised statutes, eligible misdemeanor convictions can be expunged after five years, and eligible felonies after 10 years.
Why Do You Need A Lawyer?
Any citizen can file for expunction, but an attorney can greatly improve the odds of success. Mr. Hale is well versed in North Carolina’s expunction statutes. He will gauge whether you are eligible, help you document your petition, navigate the legal process, meet deadlines and represent you in court if your case requires a hearing.
Find Out If You Can Clear Your Criminal Record
Start with a free initial consultation with the experienced Raleigh expunction lawyer at Hale Law Firm, PC. Call 919-891-8995 or use the online form to touch base. The firm is conveniently located in downtown Raleigh across the street from the Wake County Justice Center. Attorney Hale also assists people statewide with the expunction process.