In North Carolina it is possible for people to have their criminal record cleared in some cases. The process is known as expungement (also called expunction). It is also possible for people who were simply accused and later cleared of a crime to have their criminal records sealed. In either case, this involves keeping the records out of public access. The files of the case are maintained for record-keeping purposes, but are only accessible to state judges.
What does it take to get records expunged?
Your first order of business is to visit the court and obtain the necessary application forms. After filling them out, you need submit your application with the required fees along with the necessary files from your case. Once the court forwards your application to corresponding government agencies, all information and replies will be forwarded to the judge assigned to the case, who will hear the case and decide if expungement should be granted.
If the judge approves the request, he will then send out the order to all relevant agencies, including the police, the courts, and even the Department of Motor Vehicles, to destroy your criminal file.
Are there any limitations to expungement?
Although your criminal record is erased in the eyes of the public, an official file of your crime is maintained at Administrative Office of the Courts. Since everyone is limited to only one expunction in their lifetime in North Carolina, the file is kept to ensure no subsequent expungements are granted