Ordinarily, after a conviction in North Carolina, you need to disclose the fact that you have a criminal record to potential employers, landlords and others. While this does not automatically disqualify you from obtaining a job or finding a place to live, it may limit your options.

However, under certain circumstances, it may be possible for you to have your record expunged. According to FindLaw, expungement involves setting aside a prior criminal conviction so that the record of it is only available under very specific circumstances and to a limited number of people. As far as the public is concerned, it is as though the conviction never happened in the first place.

Expungement is not available to everyone. It is only allowed in certain jurisdictions, and even in jurisdictions that do offer expungement, there are a number of factors used to determine your eligibility:

  • Your criminal history
  • The amount of elapsed time since the conviction
  • The nature of the alleged crime

It is also important to understand that expungement does not entirely erase your criminal record. Rather, any conviction(s) the expungement affects go “under seal.” The only entities that have access to it are criminal courts, law enforcement and certain other government agencies. If a legal proceeding should arise in the future, the expunged conviction may come up, but otherwise, the conviction is no longer part of the public record, which means that you are under no obligation to disclose it.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.