Which Convictions Can Never be Expunged?

by | Jul 15, 2019 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Generally, if a person is otherwise eligible for an expunction, they can get certain nonviolent low-level felony and misdemeanor one-time convictions expunged after the relevant waiting period (5 years for misdemeanors, 10 years for felonies). They can do this once per lifetime and only if they don’t have any other convictions and have not previously received an expunction. These types of expunctions are governed by NCGS § 15A-145.5. This blog focuses on which convictions cannot be expunged. Certain convictions can simply never be expunged. Please note that this blog focuses on expunctions for charges that resulted in a conviction. If a charge was did not result in a conviction (e.g., dismissed or acquitted) and a person is otherwise eligible, any such charge can be expunged. Click here for more information on the differences between a charge and a conviction.

Violent offenses

Violent offenses cannot be expunged. Any offense that includes assault as an essential element cannot be expunged.

Felony expunction

Most nonviolent Class H and Class I felonies can be expunged after ten years. Class A – Class G felonies cannot be expunged. See below for examples of crimes that cannot be expunged.

Misdemeanor expunction

Most nonviolent Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 misdemeanors can be expunged after 5 years. Class A1 misdemeanors cannot be expunged. DWI convictions cannot be expunged.

What types of convictions can never be expunged?

Some convictions cannot be expunged, even if they are nonviolent and are within a Class of crime that is eligible for expunction. The following is a list of crimes that, if they result in a conviction, cannot be expunged:

  • A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor
  • Any offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense
  • DWI
  • Possession with intent to sell and/or deliver cocaine
  • Controlled substance felonies involving heroin or methamphetamine
  • Breaking and entering into a building with the intent to commit a felony or larceny
  • Breaking and entering into a motor vehicle with the intent to commit a felony or larceny
  • Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the offense
  • Offenses involving sex offender registration – Offenses requiring registration pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, whether or not the person is currently required to register
  • Certain sex-related or stalking offenses (offenses under G.S. 14-27.25(b), 14-27.30(b), 14-190.7, 14-190.8, 14-190.9, 14-202, 14-208.11A, 14-208.18, 14-277.3, 14-277.3A, 14-321.1)
  • Contaminating food or drink to render one mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
  • Hate crimes such as:
    • Placing burning or flaming cross on property of another or on public street or highway or on any public place
    • Placing exhibit with intention of intimidating, etc., another (ex. noose)
    • Placing exhibit while wearing mask, hood, or other disguise
    • Punishment of misdemeanors, infamous offenses, offenses committed in secrecy and malice, or with deceit and intent to defraud, or with ethnic animosity (for example, committing a crime because of the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin.) See NCGS 14-3.

*Note that conviction of attempt to commit any of the aforementioned crimes would also be ineligible for expunction. Note also that this list is not necessarily exhaustive.

If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina or are seeking an expunction in North Carolina, contact us to speak with a criminal defense attorney and discuss your options.


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