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.

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.

Call Pisgah Legal Services at (828) 253-0406 or toll-free at (800) 489-6144 to apply for services at any time. 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.