What to Know About Expungement and DUI in Asheville

If you’ve ever been charged with a DUI in Asheville and had to go on a job hunt, you know how frustrating an ordeal it can be. It can be problematic for an employer to consider you even if you’ve have dismissed or pending charges as they can be linked to your record permanently, even if you were found innocent. However, you may not know that you can have certain crimes expunged (sometimes referred to as expunction) from your record.

Before December 2017, the laws governing expungement were much stricter. This changed when Governor Roy Cooper signed in Senate Bill 445 which altered the expungement laws for millions of NC residents. The aim of the amendments is to ease the expungement penalties for non-violent misdemeanor and felony convictions.

Changes to the Law

Dismissed Charges and Not-Guilty Verdicts

As long as you’ve not been previously convicted of committing a felony, you can now apply to have your record cleared of any not-guilty or dismissed cases.

Misdemeanors

In order to speed up the expunction process, if you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor in North Carolina, you no longer need to wait 15 years before beginning the process to expunge your record. The waiting period has been shortened to 5 years. DUI/DWI convictions are an exception to these changes. If the misdemeanor charge results in a not-guilty verdict, there is no waiting period before you can expunge your record.

Felonies

If you’ve been convicted of a non-violent felony, you can now apply for expungement after 10 years instead of having to wait for 15 years to lapse. However, if you’ve been convicted of a violent felony then you are not eligible for expungement. If you’ve been charged with a felony and the verdict finds you not-guilty, then you can immediately apply to have your record expunged.

Limits

Previously in North Carolina, you could only have one expungement for dismissal, this limitation has been lifted.

Access to Expunged Records

Keep in mind that even though your record has been expunged of the crime from public searches, prosecutors and law enforcement will still have access to the records. If you’ve been convicted of previous crimes and are currently facing new charges, the expunged records can still be used in determining a harsher sentence. Also, note that even though your records are considered legally expunged if you received coverage that has been published on the Internet, then those will remain indefinitely.

Expunging Records Concerning Larceny

If you’ve found yourself convicted of misdemeanor larceny in North Carolina, the circumstances of expunging your record will hinge on your age. If you were over 18 years of age when convicted, then you fall under the amended changes to the law where you must wait 5 years before applying to have your record expunged. If you were under the age of 18, the period is lessened to 2 years.

If the charges were dismissed or you were found not-guilty then there is no waiting period to apply for expungement.

Expunging Records Concerning Drugs

Drug convictions have their own set of expungement waiting periods. The periods are subject to the class of drugs involved and your age at the time of the conviction. The waiting period can range anywhere between 1 – 10 years. The judge may also require you to complete the 90-96 program before you’re eligible to apply.

If the charges were dismissed or you were found not-guilty then there is no waiting period to apply for expungement.

Expunging Records Concerning DUI in Asheville

DUI/DWI is an exception to the amended expungement law. Even if your DUI in Asheville is classified as a misdemeanor, you are not eligible at any point to have it expunged from your record.

However, as in the case of other results, if the charges were dismissed or you were found not-guilty then there is no waiting period to apply for expungement.

How to Expunge a Criminal Record in North Carolina

In order to expunge your record, you must submit an application at the county courthouse where the charges were settled. You must use form AOC-CR-287 to request an expungement of all of your dismissed charge records. There is a fee involved, the range of which is between $0 – $175, which is dependent on the circumstances of your case. If your case was dismissed or ended in a not-guilty verdict then the application is free.

No matter the charges involved, if you are eligible for expungement, the process can span between 9 – 12 months after submitting the application.

The best thing to do if you’ve been charged with DUI is to contact an experienced law firm that handles DUI in Asheville. Contact our law firm today and schedule a consultation.

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