Expunctions and sentencing points in North Carolina – As criminal defense attorneys we get calls daily about a wide range of topics that people have a question about. Two of the main topics we get questions about involve something about pending convictions, and the other is something that many people consider after a conviction; those two things are regarding sentencing and expunctions.
In this post we will not only speak a little bit about expunctions and sentencing, but we will discuss how they relate to each other. Like all of our blogs, this is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
Why should someone get an expunction?
To answer that question first will talk a little bit about what it is. We have written multiple blogs about it, and you can access a helpful blog here. In summary, an expunction allows a criminal charge, or criminal conviction, to be erased from someone’s record.
This is beneficial in many ways, but especially when it comes to employment and the other collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Many employers require background checks, and having a criminal record gives you a disadvantage over applicants without a criminal record. Further, a criminal record can keep you from obtaining certain benefits and privileges including, but not limited to:
- Certain federal aid programs
- Certain licenses
- Certain employment
- Certain state government benefits
Given the choice between getting something expunged vs. just ignoring it, you are usually better off getting an expunction. Unfortunately, an expunction does not fix everything…more on that later.
How does sentencing work?
In North Carolina, if you have been convicted of, or plead guilty, to a state crime you are subject to the North Carolina Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines, or the North Carolina Felony Sentencing Guidelines.
Sentencing is based on a number of factors but primarily those factors are: (1) Class of crime, and (2) Points related to prior convictions.
How expunctions affect prior convictions for sentencing purposes
Unfortunately, expunctions do not have much impact on sentencing points. Sentencing points are based on prior convictions and, even if it was expunged, a previous conviction would still cause you to have sentencing points if that charge was applicable for points.
***Another limitation to expunctions is that it does not erase your criminal record for immigration purposes…for more information on that contact an immigration attorney.
Criminal law can be very complicated and require professional help to navigate through. If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us.