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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Attorney
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Can I get an expungement in NC for an underage drinking charge,

Resolved Question:

Can I get an expungement in NC for an underage drinking charge, if as a juvenile I was involved in an informal hearing, which resulted in no charges filed, after I completed community service (in a different state)? The underage drinking charge was dismissed without leave.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 4 years ago.

B. T. Meyer :

Hello there.

B. T. Meyer :

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. Underaged drinking questions can sometimes be a bit ambiguous because you can be an adult and still be guilty of underage drinking, but you called yourself a juvenile at the time, so let me assume that you were not yet a legal adult nor were you charged as such.

B. T. Meyer :

North Carolina does permit expungment of juvenile records provided the juvenile did not have any prior misdemeanors or felonies on their record. So if it was a first-time offense, even with a conviction, it would be expungeable in North Carolina. So the answer, ordinarily would be "yes", it is entirely possible.

B. T. Meyer :

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please keep in mind that the experts are not credited for unaccepted answers; even where I cannot solve every problem in a case, my hope is that you can at least feel confident in your knowledge of your rights so you can get the best legal outcome under the circumstances, whatever that outcome may be. Please remember to click accept once you are finished. Thank you.

Customer:

No, the situation is this. First, the individual in question, as a 17-year-old juvenile, was involved in a situation (lighting a pillow on school grounds, with very minimal damage resulting), which was handled through the informal hearing process. Which means that no charges were filed, no arrest was made; the 17-year-old had to attend an informal hearing, where it was stated that once community service was perform, the intake-clerk would consider the matter closed, and nothing else would happen. If the community service was not done, then conceivably some charges could be file. The community service was done however, and the matter was closed.

Customer:

Then, a couple of weeks later, the individual turns 18, and is now at college, in NC. He is charged with underage drinking, and public urinating. These charges are dismissed, w/o leave. Can these charges now be expunged, in NC? Thank you

B. T. Meyer :

Thank you for the additional information. I am not sure if I need to clarify this, but I do understand the informal hearing process, and I do understand the difference between a dismissal and a conviction. My answer remains the same in that regard. However, it is unclear to me if you are talking about charges arising out of one event or two separate events. You said "a couple of weeks later, the individual turns 18...[h]e is charged with underage drinking, and public urinating. These charges are dismissed w/o leave". Is this separate from what happened when he was 17 years old?

Customer:

Yes, they are separate. The charges he got when he was 18 are what is concerning to me. The underage situation will never show on any background check, and even though he was not convicted as an adult, (the charges were dismissed), the arrest still appears on a background check. Can these adult charges be expunged, as he had previous involvement in judicial system, as a juvenile.

B. T. Meyer :

Thank you for that additional information. I am aware that an arrest will appear on a law enforcement background check... I really do understand the legal side of things, so although you are welcome to discuss the law with me, please do not have any concerns about my knowledge of the law and the system. I like to think of myself as the expert on the law and you as the expert on the facts, so if we can just connect your knowledge of the facts with my knowledge of the law then we can get the right answer. That said, if there was no actual conviction on the second charge, and assuming that there was no expungement filed previously, the person would be entitled to having the record expunged. Does that answer your question?

Customer:

Yes it does, thank you.

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