Can I get a PJC expunged off my criminal record?
Many people throughout North Carolina (including many of my own clients) have used a PJC as a way to dispose of criminal or traffic charges. A PJC stands for Prayer for Judgment Continued and is used by the North Carolina Courts as a way for someone charged with a crime to plead guilty but have the court withhold entry of a judgment. In effect it limits the penalty for the guilty plea to just court cost. No other fine or jail is imposed (Though some judges may issue certain requirements to grant a PJC). It is important to note that a PJC is treated by the court system like a conviction and it may not be the best legal option for your particular case. It is always best to consult with a North Carolina criminal lawyer to review your case and explain all of your options.
But what if you want to get that charge expunged off your record later? Can you expunge a PJC in North Carolina?
This question is actually very divisive in the North Carolina legal community and receives mixed answers depending on who you ask. As an expungement lawyer in Raleigh, I believe that a person can and should be able to receive an expungement under the North Carolina General Statute 15A-145. This statute covers expungements for persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor as a first offender and under the age of 18. While the statute does not specifically have any mention of a PJC, the argument hinges on the fact that the North Carolina Court System treats a PJC like a conviction for most purposes and that should also include expungements.
But is a PJC a conviction?
As the court stated in State v. Mcgee, 175 N.C. App. 586 (2006) “Under the traditional definition, “Conviction” refers to the jury’s or fact finder’s guilty verdict.” And a PJC can only be granted after the Judge establishes the defendant’s guilt. So, since the court treats a PJC just like a conviction, a person should be able to obtain an expungement under the statute dealing with expunction of a conviction.
So, the next step for someone who has received a PJC and would like it expunged off their record is to talk to an expungement attorney who can tell if you qualify for an expungement in NC.
If you need to have your criminal record cleaned and get an expungement, contact an NC Expungement Lawyer. The Gurney Law Firm handles all types of expungements in North Carolina. Contact an Expungement lawyer by calling (919) 930-4027. The Gurney Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm in Raleigh, NC and serves all of Wake County and Durham County. This includes Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Wake forest, Zebulon and Fuquay-Varina.
Expungement in NC: Getting an Expunction of Criminal Record
As an expungement lawyer in Raleigh I get asked by clients how they go about getting their criminal record expunged. Many people who are applying for jobs or graduate school are finding it hard because of their criminal record. The Gurney Law Firm handles expungements for its client’s so they can move on with their life. There is more than one way a lawyer can get offenses off your criminal record, but the most effective and most common is getting an Expungement.
Am I eligible for an NC Expungement of my criminal charge(s)?
Pursuant to the North Carolina General Statutes, people in certain situation are entitled to have specific criminal charges or their whole criminal history expunged. Being eligible depends on different factors including age, guilty or not guilty, case dismissed and/or the type of charge (for example – Misdemeanor, Felony, Drug Charges, Drug Paraphernalia Charges…). To determine if you are eligible to have your criminal charges expunged contact The Gurney Law Firm.
In general you may obtain an expunction under North Carolina Law for:
- Expunctions on basis of age
o Certain misdemeanor convictions for offenses committed before the age of 18 and 21
o Older misdemeanor larceny convictions
o Discharge and dismissal or conviction of certain gang offenses
o Discharge and dismissal of cyber bullying offenses
- Expunction of Dismissals and Similar Disposition
o Dismissal or finding of not guilty of misdemeanors, felonies, and certain infractions
o Charges resulting from identity theft
o DNA records
o After pardon of innocence
- Expunctions of Drug related offense
o Discharge and dismissal of certain drug related offenses
o Finding of Not Guilty or dismissal of certain drug related offenses
o Conviction of certain drug related offenses
How do I get an expungement in North Carolina?
Hire an NC expungement attorney and have them work through the process of eligibility, hearings, paper work and cost. You do have the option of trying to go the pro se rout, but it is not recommended because there is a lot at risk when trying to clean your record and a mistake could be very costly. A good North Carolina expungement lawyer can take you through the detailed process.
What is the effect of a have a criminal charged expunged of my record?
Basically an expungement is supposed to place the person back in the same position as if they were never charged with the crime. So, after an expungement you can legally say that you were never charged with that expunged crime. An order of expungement purges all official state and county records of the incident. All records of the arrest, charge and disposition of the case are erased permanently off your public record. The only record kept is a confidential file by the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (usually called the NC AOC). These confidential files are only able to be seen by Judges of the General Court of Justice for the purpose to see if you have been granted a previous NC Expungement.
What if I am not eligible to get an expungement?
In this case you need to contact an NC Expungement Lawyer who can review your case and explore other options such as reopening your case and or filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief.
After my record is expunged can I say I was never charged with a crime? What about College Applications, Job Application or Apartment Applications?
Yes! If the charge or charges have been expunged then you can legally say you were never charged with the crime. All record of the charge has been wiped clean (except federal agencies like the FBI and a confidential file held by the AOC)
What is the expungement process? How long will it take?
In Wake County the Clerk of Courts office advises that the expungement process can take between 6 and 8 months. This timeline can vary depending on the case. The factors affecting this timeline are the defendant, the expungement lawyer handling your expungement, the County where the charge(s) originated from and the efficiency of the AOC and the SBI.
Every County (all 100 Counties in NC) may handle the expungement process a little differently but in general: The expungement process starts at the county level where the expungement clerk will review, collect fees, check eligibility and process the paperwork. It will then move to the State Bureau of Investigations (NC SBI) for a background check of your criminal history. Records from all 100 counties in North Carolina will be checked. Next the Court will search confidential records to determine if an expungement of your record has been previously done under N.C.G.S. 15A-145, 15A-146 or N.C.G.S. 90-96. Then it will check conviction records on the State and Federal level. Then the case is kicked back down to the county the Order of Expunction was started and upon review a Judge will sing an order directing all public entries related to the expunged offense be purged from the public records. This includes all records by police and the courts. Then the clerk will communicated with the sheriff’s office, police and federal agencies. (It should be noted that each county may handle the expungement process differently).
Why get an expungement of your criminal history in NC?
- Applying to School (Grad School, Law School, Medical School, Business School)
- Applying for jobs
- Getting licensed for different occupations
- Trying to get an apartment
- Applying for student loans (Having drug related offenses on your criminal record can make you ineligible for loans, grants and certain work assistance under the Higher Education Act of 1998)
- Owning a gun or possessing a gun in NC (In North Carolina if you have a felony conviction on your record your rights may be eliminated or extremely limited)
- Working with children (Whether volunteering or employment at a place where you are working with kids may not be possible with certain offenses on your record)
- Adopting children with a criminal history can be hard if not impossible for some people
A Raleigh Expungement lawyer will often hear their clients ask…. Can I get an expungement? How do I get this charge off my criminal record? If you have question about an expungement you should contact a Raleigh Criminal Lawyer like Eric Gurney.
The Gurney Law firm is a criminal defense firm in Raleigh, NC. We handle all criminal matters (Serious felony and misdemeanors) and expungements. If you need a criminal lawyer in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Apex, Knightdale or Wake Forest contact criminal defense attorney Eric Gurney. If you need a lawyer that handles expungements contact us at (919) 930-4027.