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Belmont Criminal Expungement Lawyer

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Belmont Criminal Expungement Lawyer

Criminal Expungement Attorneys in Belmont, NC

A criminal expungement removes a criminal conviction from an individual’s criminal history report. The expungement prohibits the public possession of criminal conviction records but does not erase or destroy these records. These can still be accessed by court order and law enforcement agencies. However, an individual’s benefits from a criminal expungement are numerous. If you have been convicted of a crime, it is important to explore the possibility of expungement. The best way to achieve an expungement is to hire a Belmont criminal expungements attorney who has already helped several clients in the same situation.

Representing Belmont, NC With Criminal Expungement Success

The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford has represented clients in North Carolina since 1996. Criminal expungements are just like criminal defense cases, except that expungements are filed on behalf of individuals who have already been convicted of a crime. Expungement is the appropriate course of action when the court has already decided to convict an individual and a more severe sentence, including prison time, is not necessary. We have already helped many people in North Carolina who were eligible to have their records expunged and look forward to learning more about your case and seeing how we can repeat our historic success with you.

What Qualifies Someone as Eligible for Expungement?

There are several factors to be considered when someone may be eligible for expungement. Some of these factors include:

  • The charges must not currently be active. Charges that are dismissed or dropped because there is not enough evidence or the wrong person was arrested are not eligible for expungement.
  • An individual has already completed probation successfully and has not since gotten in any trouble with the law.
  • The court ended an individual’s probation sentence early.
  • The individual must not currently be facing charges for another offense.
  • The defendant in question never had to serve time in prison as part of their consequences.

These scenarios are the best possible cases to qualify for expungement. Only a detailed analysis of your case from a criminal expungement attorney can determine whether you are eligible.

Who Can File an Expungement Petition?

Anyone eligible to make the petition for expungement has the right to file one. This includes but is not limited to:

  • The defendant in question (the person who committed the crime)
  • The defendant’s attorney
  • A representative of a federal, state, or local government agency that was responsible for investigating or prosecuting the original charge
  • A person who suffered direct harm or was threatened with harm because of the criminal offense
  • Any person that had their property damaged as a result of the criminal offense

Individuals are limited to making one expungement petition at a time. This is because the court will make an individual wait until their current case is decided before expunging their record. The court may also deny a petition if the defendant in question has committed another crime since the original one for which they were convicted or violated their probation conditions after completing their sentence.

The Expungement Process

The expungement process is straightforward yet legally nuanced. This makes self-representation very risky. Hiring a seasoned criminal expungement attorney will accelerate this process and ensure each of the following steps is completed with the utmost detail:

  • Collect case information and completerequired paperwork. The attorney will have to collect information about the individual’s case, including all arrest records, court documents, and police reports. The attorney must record this carefully to avoid any errors. An attorney must also file all required paperwork with the court to officially begin the expungement process. This requires the attorney to accumulate many mandatory forms and deliver them to the office in an organized fashion.
  • File a petition for expungement. Once all paperwork is gathered and filed, the next step is to file a petition with the court. The petitioner must include all details about themselves and their case inside this legal document.
  • Attend a court hearing. An expungement hearing must be scheduled and attended by the defendant in question. This is sort of like a mini-trial, where the defendant can make their case to a judge. The expungement attorney will accompany the defendant and speak on their behalf, but the defendant must argue their case before the judge to have a successful petition.
  • Wait for a decree after hearing. The court will review all information that was submitted, including any information that may be in opposition to the petition. The judge will make their decision and write an official decree for the defendant, which is an official court document stating the expungement was granted. Once this decree is signed by all parties involved, the record will be sealed by law enforcement agencies.

It is important to note that expungements are not automatic. The defendant must attend a court hearing where they can explain their case and make it clear to the judge why they should have their record sealed. Expungement petitions can be denied if the defendant in question has committed another crime since their original charge, among other barriers to sealing a record. Make sure that a seasoned criminal expungements attorney represents you to avoid these issues that could create more problems for your future.

What Qualities Should I Seek for In a Criminal Expungement Lawyer?

Experience

The most important quality that you should seek out is experience. Some attorneys may be able to process an expungement petition, but they may not have much experience with them. This could cause delays or mistakes that may cost you more than you gained through the expungement process.

Organized

Another important quality that you should seek out is organization. An organized and detail-oriented criminal expungements attorney will be able to file all necessary paperwork and prepare you for a court hearing.

Convenience

One final quality that you should seek in a criminal expungement attorney is convenience. You may want an attorney who is local and accessible. This way, you won’t have to spend a lot of time driving outside of Belmont to meet with them or waste time getting a hold of them on the phone if their caseload is too large to dedicate enough time to your case.

Contact The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford Today

If you are looking to have your record sealed, be sure to contact an attorney who specializes in expungements. The attorneys at The Law Firm of Brent D. Ratchford are experienced professionals who have helped many clients throughout the Belmont area with their record sealing needs. Contact us today to evaluate your case and hear what we believe you can do to expunge your criminal record.

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