The State of North Carolina offers the expungement of records only under certain circumstances. The offender must have:
- A first-time misdemeanor offender, under the age of 18
- A first-time alcohol-possession offender, under the age of 21
- If an individual was found not guilty or if the charges were dismissed
- If a first-time offender received deferred adjudication for a misdemeanor or minor drug offense (charges are dismissed if probation and all conditions thereof are successfully completed).
A pardon may be granted to individuals who have maintained a good reputation in their community, following the completion of their sentence for a criminal offense. Ordinarily, an applicant must wait to apply until at least five years have elapsed since the applicant was released from State supervision (including probation or parole). A Pardon is merely an official statement attached to the criminal record that states that the State of North Carolina has pardoned the crime. A pardon does not expunge or erase a criminal record.
There are three types of pardons:
- Pardon of Forgiveness: Pardon most frequently requested. The Pardon basically states that the individual has been pardoned and forgiven of their criminal conviction. This Pardon is granted with certain conditions.
- Pardon of Innocence: Pardon granted when an individual has been convicted and the criminal charges are subsequently dismissed. Application for this type of Pardon allows an individual to petition the Governor for a declaration of innocence when the individual has been erroneously convicted and imprisoned and later determined to be innocent.
- Unconditional Pardon: Pardon granted primarily to restore an individual’s right to own or possess a firearm. This Pardon is granted without any conditions or restrictions.