There is no single law covering all expunctions in North Carolina; instead, several statutes covering various types of criminal records. Contrary to common belief, opportunities to expunge a criminal record in North Carolina are actually quite limited in regards to criminal convictions. Expunction opportunities in North Carolina are generally limited to the following three categories:
“Nonviolent Offense” is a term of art that is defined in N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5(a) (PDF BELOW). It includes any felony or misdemeanor except those listed in the statute. Examples of offenses excluded from the definition are class A-G felonies, A1 misdemeanors, offenses involving assault as an essential element, or those requiring sex offender registration. See the statute for the full list offenses.
The key factors to determine eligibility for expungement of a criminal record are:
There have been significant reforms to the expunction process and expunction eligibility as a result of changes signed into law by Governor Cooper on July 28, 2017. The following are some of the key differences for expunction petitions filed after December 1, 2017:
Source of content: NC Second Chance Alliance
For specific eligibility criteria, please see the 2018 Summary of North Carolina Expunctions.