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FORMS & VIEWS
NEWS & UPDATES
Dustin Prudhomme is providing new opportunities for cigar makers and consumers through new and innovative distribution channels. Prudhomme’s company, Cajun Cigar Czar, provides high quality
Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all non-essential Criminal District Court and Criminal Superior Courts, will automatically be continued at least thirty days in an effort
t’s Official! As of February 7, 2020, FLETCHER LEGAL, PLLC is officially registered as a North Carolina Law Firm! More on this to follow!
ADVICE & BLOGROLL
In North Carolina, if you’re absolutely hammered, try and find a Segway instead of an electric scooter; it might just save you a DWI charge!
As always, we begin our analysis by reviewing the relevant law, N.C.G.S. 20-138.1: “A person commits the offense of Impaired Driving if he drives any vehicle upon any highway, any street, or any public vehicular area within this state: While under
Drugged Driving – or Drug DWI – is a form of “Impaired Driving,” under N.C.G.S. 20-138.1. This is the same law that the State uses to convict drunk drivers. In other words, the same law governs drunk driving and drugged driving. But, operating under the influence of drugs, and operating under the influence of alcohol, are two very different things.
FLETCHER LEGAL IS A CHARLOTTE-BASED LAW PRACTICE DEDICATED TO HELPING OUR CLIENTS NAVIGATE BOTH THE JUDICIAL PROCESS, AND LIFE’S MOST DIFFICULT MOMENTS. We constantly push the limits of what’s possible when it comes to integrating technology into solo practice with the goal of reducing client fees and expanding access to law. We believe in treating people the way we want to be treated.
WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, BUT RESULTS AREN’T EVERYTHING. We believe that relationships are key, and we only accept clients that we feel we can have a successful partnership with to reach the best results. We believe that legal emergencies rarely occur during business hours, and that it is essential for clients to have Attorney Fletcher’s personal cell phone number.
WE ACCEPT CLIENTS, NOT CASES, AND WE GO WHERE WE ARE NEEDED, ACROSS ALL 100 NORTH CAROLINA COUNTIES. We stick to what we’re good at, continually pushing the envelope and streamlining process steps. We always set our clients up for the best possible outcome.
EXPUNGING A NORTH CAROLINA CRIMINAL BACKGROUND
TYPES OF NORTH CAROLINA EXPUNGEMENTS
EXPUNGEMENTS ARE CREATED BY STATE STATUTE. Expungements are governed by state law; specifically: Article 5, Chapter 15A of the North Carolina General Statutes. A good way of understanding Expungement law is that, by default, when a person is either charged or convicted of any crime, that record will appear on that person’s criminal background report forever, unless the state allows a person to expunge it. The law must specifically allow a person to expunge something – no right to expunge exists. However, several North Carolina laws create several expunctions under which a “Petitioner” may file.
NEITHER THIS LISTING NOR THIS WEBSITE ATTEMPT TO EXHAUSTIVELY COVER, IN-DEPTH, EACH OF THE EXPUNGEMENT STATUTES CREATED BY THE NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Around here, we stick to what we’re good at. What that means in this context is rather than doing a half-way job of listing the roughly twenty different types of Expungements created under North Carolina law, we’ve done some research and determined the most frequently filed Expungement types in North Carolina, based off of several years worth of tracking data. Our goal is to be the very best at the types of Expungements listed below – which the vast majority of people need help with – instead of just being vaguely aware of each and every type of Expungement known to North Carolina law. Just because the specific Expungement you may qualify for is not listed below, does not mean it doesn’t exist. Simply call our office, and one of our Expungement Professionals would be happy to discuss other – perhaps more well suited – expungements based on your particular situation.
WE BELIEVE WE CAN DO THE MOST GOOD BY FOCUSING ON THE EXPUNGEMENTS THAT ARE FILED MOST OFTEN, AFTER HAVING STUDIED EXPUNGEMENT PETITIONERS FILED DURING THE PAST DECADE. In North Carolina, Expungements generally fall into 1 of five categories. Although this discussion could easily spiral out of control into a very thorough and in-depth legal analysis, we’re going to do our best to simplify – yet clarify – these different expungements the best we possibly can. The five types of Expungements this website will help explain include:
A District Attorney may dismiss (almost) any criminal charge, at any point during the case, for any reason or for no reason at all (referred to as “prosecutorial discretion”). Many reasons may lead to a voluntary dismissal: perhaps the state believes they have a weak case they cannot prove at trial, perhaps they cannot locate the prosecuting witness, or perhaps the person charged is now in compliance with a minor traffic offense. As long as you haven’t been convicted of a felony, you’re usually able to expunge a dismissed charge. We’ve made the process easier than ever; learn more about expunging a Voluntary Dismissal here, or start expunging a Voluntary Dismissal online now.
Deferred Dismissals are not unconditional. Typically, the state “makes a deal” with a first time offender, a person charged with minor drug possession, or an underage drinker. In exchange for a guaranteed future dismissal, the person charged agrees to complete a period of probation, a drug class, or community service. Convicted felons are barred from expunging Deferred Dismissals from their criminal records. We’ve made the process easier, and less expensive, than ever! Learn more about expunging a Deferred Dismissal here, or begin expunging a Deferred Dismissal online now!
Not Guilty Verdicts, whether obtained from a judge hearing and ruling on a case, or obtained from a jury, may be expunged from a person’s criminal record, as long as that person is not a convicted felon. We’ve made the process of expunging a Not Guilty verdict easier, and less expensive, than ever before! Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Not Guilty Verdict here, or begin your online expungement now!
North Carolina law allows a person to expunge a misdemeanor conviction that occurred at any age – subject to a few exclusions, conditions, and filing requirements. The conviction must be for a nonviolent offense, meaning that assault cannot be an essential element, and the Petitioner must have waited at least 5 years since they completed their sentence before applying. Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Misdemeanor Conviction here.
What used to be a hard “NO” has turned into a resounding “sometimes…?” North Carolina law now allows a person that has been convicted of a single, nonviolent felony to expunge the conviction from their criminal record, as long as they’ve stayed out of trouble with the law since the offense, waited 10 years before filing, and met a few other qualifying conditions. Learn more about expunging a North Carolina Felony Conviction here.
A PERSON MAY QUALIFY FOR MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF EXPUNGEMENT. For example: a person may qualify to expunge a nonviolent misdemeanor conviction that occurred when they were 17 years old under both N.C.G.S. ⸹ 15A-145 and N.C.G.S. ⸹ 15A-145.5. This makes sense if you think about it: the N.C.G.A. began the process of expanding expungements with a small start, and only allowing people who were under 18 at the time of offense to expunge youthful convictions. After a few years, they expanded the law to cover any nonviolent misdemeanor – no matter how old the person was when it occurred – after a specified number of years have passed.
TO OBTAIN A NORTH CAROLINA EXPUNGEMENT, a person must:
- CERTIFY ELIGIBILITY. Make certain they qualify for relief by discussing their case with a licensed expungement attorney; the attorney will decide which type of expungement they should apply for;
- OBTAIN RECORDS. The attorney will obtain copies of the person’s criminal file from both electronic court records, and/or case files maintained by the Clerk of Court where the offense occurred;
- DRAFT PAPERWORK. The attorney will complete the paperwork required by the State; if the wrong paperwork is completed, it could take a year or more before anyone discovers the mistake;
- FILE PAPERWORK AND PAY ANY REQUIRED FEES. The attorney files the person’s expungement with the Clerk of Court in the county where the charge or conviction occurred;
- CLERK SENDS PETITION TO JUDGE. The Clerk of Court stamps the documents as “filed,” before sending it before a local judge for review;
- JUDGE SENDS PETITION TO RALEIGH. The local judge reviews the paperwork (which could take days, or even weeks), then submits the packet to Raleigh for review;
- PETITION REVIEWED BY SBI AND AOC. The paperwork is reviewed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (N.C. S.B.I.) and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (N.C. A.O.C.). Both Agencies make sure that the Petitioner meets all the conditions and requirements to be granted an expungement before sending the paperwork back to the county where it was originally filed. Notices are sent to the police, the sheriff, and any other local agencies that may maintain records of the charge or conviction that must be sealed. This stage can take a year or longer, which is why it’s important to apply for an expungement as soon as a person becomes eligible;
- SBI AND AOC SEND PETITION BACK TO LOCAL CLERK. Once the Clerk of Court receives the paperwork back from Raleigh, one of two things can happen. First, some types of expungements are automatically granted once the paperwork is returned. In these cases, the Clerk enters the expungement and seals the file. Other types of expungements require an in-court hearing before a judge, who has discretion whether to grant the expungement. In these cases, the burden is on the attorney to determine when the paperwork has been received by the local Clerk, and to schedule a hearing. If a hearing is not scheduled, the expungement is never officially granted, and the records are never officially sealed;
- SOME EXPUNGEMENTS REQUIRE IN-COURT HEARINGS. For cases that require hearings, both the person requesting relief and their attorney are present to present facts about why the expungement should be granted. Notice must be given to the District Attorney, who may be required under state law to notify any victims of the crime and give them an opportunity to also be heard. If the judge agrees that an expungement should be granted, the file is returned to the Clerk, who begins the sealing process of local court records; AND
- NOTIFY 3RD PARTIES. In both types of cases, more work is still required. Although state agencies, including the police, the local sheriff, and the court have been order to seal these records, 3rd party background check companies may still maintain records of the arrest, the charge, or the conviction. Either the person who filed, or their attorney, must put 3rd parties on notice that their records are incorrect, and begin the process of removing outdated entries from background checks.
HOW A NORTH CAROLINA EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP
- FILE ONLINE. Instead of meeting with an attorney to determine eligibility, we allow people to determine whether they’re eligible by answering a few simple questions online!
- GATHER THE FACTS. Instead of attorneys making special appearances in court to gather information, we help you obtain the required information yourself!
- COMPLETE WEB FORMS. Instead of an attorney completing all the required paperwork, simply enter the requested information online through our automated web form process – the paperwork is generated automatically and emailed to our staff!
- OUR TEAM REVIEWS ACCURACY. We review the documents for accuracy, then file a packet with the court on your behalf! Or, if you prefer, we will give specific instructions explaining how to file the paperwork yourself!
- CLEAN UP YOUR CRIMINAL HISTORY WITHOUT LEAVING HOME. You can now obtain a North Carolina Expungement entirely online, without ever leaving your living room. And, if you ever have any questions, you can call, text, email, or video conference our Expungement professionals at any point to ask for help. To begin the online Expungement process, CLICK HERE.
WHERE WE GO: GEOGRAPHIC PRACTICE AREAS
Serving: Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan, Cleveland, Lincoln, Stanly, Davidson, Catawba, and Anson Counties, as well as Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Lake Norman, Mooresville, Troutman, Statesville, Matthews, Mint Hill, Harrisburg, Weddington, Waxhaw, Indian Trail, Monroe, Wadesboro, Wingate, Polkton, Concord, Kannapolis, China Grove, Salisbury, Lexington, Thomasville, High Point, Denver, Lincolnton, Newton, Conover, Hickory, Belmont, Lowell, Mt. Holly, Lowesville, Gastonia, Dallas, Bessemer City, Kings Mountain, Shelby, Pineville, Midland, Locust, Albemarle, Rockingham, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Wilmington.