Because a DWI conviction is so serious, many want to know about DWI expungement. While it used to be possible, the North Carolina legislature changed the law to “close” this supposed loophole. So now, under current law, North Carolina and “rock and roll” never forgets (or forgives).
DWI Expungement in North Carolina
As expected, DWI expungement is a frequent question and internet search inquiry. Although DWIs are a misdemeanor, it results in a serious, permanent criminal record. For example, any driving jobs are probably over and getting most other jobs will be hard as well. Further, a DUI conviction can even limit the types of professions you can work. As a result, clients with professional licenses or those with commercial drivers licenses (CDL) seek our help. In addition, many people feel embarrassed and want a clean record again. Furthermore, a past mistake should not brand you forever.
DWI Expungement if Convicted
Previously, if you convicted of a DWI, you could get a DWI expungement. However, the process was very hard but still allowed under certain circumstances. More specifically, N.C.G.S. 15A-145.5 outlined what was necessary to get a DWI expungement. So to see how difficult it was, here was what was necessary to qualify.
First, the conviction had to be more than 15 years old. In addition, you had to complete all punishment at least 15 years previously. For example, if convicted 15 years ago but with one year of probation, you had to wait an additional year. Secondly, no other convictions for a felony or a misdemeanor (other than a traffic violation) could be on your record. And, finally, you had to complete the legal process and pay all required fees.
After applying for expunction, the necessary paperwork had to go through all county and state agencies with conviction records. Furthermore, expungement only included publicly available records. However, just like the internet, all other confidential files are still there.
UPDATE: DWI Expungement No Longer Available in NC
DWI Expungement if Charge Dismissed
If dismissed, the Court can still remove the prior charge from your record. First, the person seeking the expungement must have never had a previous expungement in North Carolina. Second, the person must not have any conviction for a felony in North Carolina, or any other state. Third, the person completes the expungement process by requesting and paying the associated fee. In the end, both the county and State of North Carolina will remove the charge from your record.
While police records never change, any public searches or criminal background checks will be fine. In addition to the criminal charge expungement, civil revocation removal is also possible. However, if you refused breath testing, your civil revocation will remain on your public record.