Pisgah Legal Services, through our Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (MAVL), offers free legal assistance with filing for an Expunction or Certificate of Relief.

An Expunction will remove a charge from your official State criminal record.

This expunction does not require any criminal background or prior expunction checks by the SBI or NCAOC.

You may be eligible for an Expunction if:

  • Your charges were dismissed or there was a finding of not guilty.
  • You have a first-time conviction of a nonviolent misdemeanor offense occurring more than 5 years ago or a first-time conviction of a nonviolent felony offense occurring more than 10 years ago.
  • You have a first-time conviction of certain offenses committed before the ages of 18 or 22.

You may  NOT be eligible for an Expunction if the conviction is:

  • A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor.
  • An offense that includes assault is an essential element of the offense.
  • Offense requires sex offender registration. (refer to statute here)
  • Specified hate crimes (refer to statute here) See S. 15A-145.5(a)(6) and (a)(7).
  • Specified stalking offenses (refer to statute here) See S. 15A-145.5(a)(4)
  • Any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the General Statutes where the offense involves, methamphetamines, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver or sell and deliver cocaine.
  • An offense under G.S. 14-401.16. (refer to statute here)
  • Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the crime.
  • Various felony breaking and entering offenses (refer to statute here) See S. 15A-145.5 (a(7a))) and (here) and  (here)
  • Any offense involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a) (refer to statute here)
  • Any offense that is an attempt to commit an offense listed above.

A Certificate of Relief does not result in the expunction of any criminal history record information, and it is not a pardon. It offers relief from certain collateral sanctions (refer to statute here) and may be viewed favorably by a landlord or potential employer.

You may be eligible for a Certificate of Relief if:

  • You have Class H or I felony convictions in 3 or fewer sessions of court.
  • You have misdemeanor convictions.
  • Twelve (12) months have passed since you completed all terms of your sentence.
  • You are engaged in or seeking to engage in a lawful occupation or activity.
  • You do not have any pending criminal charges.
  • You have complied with all the terms of your sentence.
  • Granting the petition would not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety and welfare of the public or any individual.

You are NOT eligible for a Certificate of Relief if:

  • You have H or I felony convictions in 4 or more sessions of court.
  • You have 1 Class A, B, C, D, E, F, or G felony conviction.

Raise the Age Expunctions

Effective immediately, under G.S. 15A-145.8 for certain offenses committed by juvenile offenders prior to the effective date of Raise the Age. You are eligible to obtain an expunction if you were convicted of a criminal offense that would now be considered a juvenile offense under Raise the Age.

The criteria for expunction under new G.S. 15A-145.8 include the following:

  • the person was 16- or 17-years-old at the time the offense was committed;
  • the offense was committed before December 1, 2019;
  • the person was convicted of a misdemeanor or a Class H or I felony, that must not include:
    • a violation of the Chapter 20 motor vehicle laws, including any offense involving impaired driving, or
    • an offense requiring registration as a sex offender, whether or not the person is currently required to register;
  • the person has completed any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision ordered for the offense;
  • the person has no restitution orders or outstanding civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution for the offense;
  • the petition must be filed on an NCAOC approved form
  • the petition must be filed with the clerk of superior court in the county where the person was convicted;
  • if not filed by the district attorney, the petition must be served on the district attorney at least 30 days before any hearing;
  • if requested, the victim has a right to be present at any hearing on the petition; and
  • unless indigent, the petitioner must pay a fee of $175.00 at the time the petition is filed.

Do You Need Help?

Apply online  for services or call PLS at (828) 253-0406 or toll-free at (800) 489-6144.

Additionally, you can visit the Justice Resource Center located on the 15th floor/Level M of the Old Courthouse at 60 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801 on Mondays from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.