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North Carolina

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Overview

Adult criminal records for cases in which you were convicted are eligible for expungement in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition.   

  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a non-violent felony, the record can be expunged 10 years after you complete your sentence. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a non-violent misdemeanor, the record can be expunged five years after you complete your sentence. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of prostitution, the record can be expunged three years after you complete your sentence. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a first-time misdemeanor alcohol possession that happened before you were 21, the record can be expunged two years after you complete your sentence. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of certain drug offenses that happened before you were 21 the record can be expunged two years after your conviction. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of certain gang-related felonies that happened before you were 18, the record can be expunged two years after your conviction or the end of your probation. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor that happened before you were 18, the record can be expunged two years after your conviction or the end of your probation. 
  • If you were convicted of a crime and received a pardon of innocence, the record can be expunged immediately. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • If you were the victim of identity theft and someone used your name when committing a crime, the record can be expunged immediately. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of prostitution because you were a victim of human trafficking, the record can be vacated and expunged immediately.  
  • If you were convicted of a nonviolent conviction, your record may be immediately expunged by the court if the court finds that you were coerced or deceived into committing the offense as a direct result of having been a trafficking victim. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and if you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • If you were charged with certain drug offenses before you were 21 and the case was dismissed after you successfully completes a conditional discharge, the record can be expunged immediately. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and if you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if your offenses were discharged or dismissed, and you were under 20 years of age at the time of the offense, the record may be expunged immediately by the court. You have to file a petition in court to start the process. 

Likely not eligible for expungement or vacation.

Adult criminal records for arrests for which you were never convicted are eligible for expungement in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process, and if you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition.   

  • If your case was dismissed or you were found not criminally responsible, the record can be expunged immediately, so long as you have never been previously convicted of a felony. 
  • If you were charged with certain drug offenses before you were 21 and the case ended with a dismissal, nolle prosequi, or not guilty verdict, the record can be expunged immediately. 
  • If you were convicted of any misdemeanor or Class H or I felonies committed prior to December 1, 2019, and while you are under 18 years of age, but at least 16 years of age, the record may be expunged by the court after completion of sentence and restitution. 

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Policies

    Records relating to certain gang-related felonies committed before age 18 can be expunged by the court two years after conviction or upon completion of probation, so long as the person has no other felony or misdemeanor conviction, other than a traffic violation. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.1(a).
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    Records relating to a conviction for prostitution can be expunged by the court three years after sentence completion, so long as the petition has no prior violent convictions, prior prostitution convictions, and violent felony or violent misdemeanor convictions. N.C. Gen. Stat. §15A-145.6.
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    Records relating to misdemeanor offenses committed before age 18 can be expunged by the court two years after a conviction or completion of any period of probation, whichever occurs later, so long as the petitioner has no other felony or misdemeanor conviction, other than a traffic violation. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145(a).
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    Records relating to an alcohol possession misdemeanor committed before age 21 may be expunged by the court two years after sentence completion, so long as the person has no other felony or misdemeanor conviction other than a traffic violation and it is a first conviction. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.
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    Records relating to certain first offense misdemeanor and felony controlled substance offenses committed when the person was not over 21 can be expunged by the court one year after conviction, so long as the person has no prior felony or misdemeanor conviction, other than a traffic violation. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.2(c).
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    Records relating to first offense of controlled substances, misdemeanor convictions, or possession of drug paraphernalia conviction committed before age 21 may be expunged one year after conviction, so long as the person has no other felony or misdemeanor conviction other than a traffic violation and has completed a drug education program. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.3(c).
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    Records relating to no more than three non-violent felony convictions, can be expunged 10 to 20 years after sentence completion. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.5(c)(2).
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    Records relating to a non-violent misdemeanor conviction, or more than one conviction in the same session of court, can be expunged five years after sentence completion, so long as the person has no other felony or misdemeanor convictions other than a traffic violation. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.5.
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    Records relating to any offenses that were discharged or dismissed pursuant to G.S. 14-277.8, and the person was under 20 years of age at the time of the offense, may be expunged by the court.
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    Records relating to nonviolent convictions may be expunged by the court if the court finds that the person was coerced or deceived into committing the offense as a direct result of having been a trafficking victim. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.9(b).
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    Records relating to a conviction for prostitution pursuant to sections 14-204 or 14-204(7) can be expunged by the court if the petitioner's participation in the offense was a result of having been a trafficking victim, so long as the petitioner has no prior violent felony or violent misdemeanor convictions and no subsequent felony or misdemeanor convictions. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.6(b)(2)(a).
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    Records relating to a conviction for which a pardon of innocence is received can be expunged by the court. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-149(a).
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    Records relating to a nonviolent offense based on section 15A-1415(b)(10) can be vacated by the court if the conviction was a result of the petitioner having been a victim of human trafficking or sexual servitude. N.C. Gen. Stat. §15A-1416.1(a), (b).
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    Records relating to a person discharged with a first controlled substance offense or felony and the proceedings against the person were dismissed may be expunged by the court if the person was not over 21 at the time of the offense. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 15A-145.2(a), N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-96.
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    Records relating to felonies or misdemeanors can be expunged by the court upon dismissal or a finding of not guilty or not responsible, so long as the person has no prior felony conviction. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-146.
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    Records relating to a felony or misdemeanor containing the name of an identity theft victim or a person mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of a crime can be expunged by the court upon a finding of not guilty or a set-aside of the conviction. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-147(a).
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    Records relating to a felony or misdemeanor containing the name of an identity theft victim or a person mistakenly identified as the perpetrator of a crime are expunged upon dismissal. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-147(a1).
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    Records relating to certain controlled substance and paraphernalia charges, for a person not over the age of 21 at the time of the offense, can be expunged upon dismissal, nolle prosequi, or finding of not guilty or adjudication of innocence. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.2(b), 15A-145.3(b).
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    Juvenile Record Clearance Overview

    Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be expunged in North Carolina. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice. Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information.   Juvenile Record Clearance Policies Overview Most juvenile records can be expunged.  

     

     

    • If you were not adjudicated (not found guilty), your record can be expunged after you turn 16. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and the judge is required to grant your request if you meet the criteria. 
    • If you were adjudicated (found guilty), your record can be expunged after you turn 18 and if at least 18 months have passed since your case, probation, or commitment ended. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request. 

    You may not be eligible for expungement if you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record.    

    Find a Lawyer 

    If you think you might be eligible to have your record expunged, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court.    

    Court Forms and Resources 

    If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources. 

     

     

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies

      Records relating to any misdemeanor or Class H or I felonies committed prior to December 1, 2019, and while the person was less than 18 years of age, but at least 16 years of age, may be expunged by the court after completion of sentence and restitution. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-145.8A(a).
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      Records relating to a juvenile petition that the court dismissed without an adjudication can be expunged by the court once the juvenile reaches age 16. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-3200(h).
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      A record relating to an adjudication can be expunged by the court once the juvenile reaches age 18. N.C. Gen. Stat. §7B-3200(b).
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      Find A Lawyer

      Legal service providers located in the state.

      Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The NRRC does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.