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North Carolina Criminal Records

North Carolina Criminal Records refer to an official document that contains information about an individual's criminal history within the state. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional institutions throughout North Carolina maintain these records.

It serves a vital function in the administration of justice, public safety, and protecting the rights and interests of individuals and organizations who need to make informed decisions about others with whom they interact.

But the most common reasons why members of the public request these records are for employment, military service, housing, background checks, personal safety, legal proceedings, and adopting a child.

State criminal records can contain various information about an individual's criminal history. The specific information contained in a criminal record varies depending on the jurisdiction and the type of offense but generally includes the following:

  • Subject's personal information like their name, date of birth, and physical description
  • Arrest information, including the date, time, and location of the arrest, the arresting law enforcement agency, and the filed charges
  • Court information related to the arrest, including the charges, the court dates, and the outcomes of the proceedings, such as guilty pleas, dismissals, or verdicts
  • The sentences imposed as a result of the criminal proceedings, including fines, probation, and incarceration
  • Incarceration information, including the name of the housing facility and the length of the subject's sentence
  • Parole and probation information, such as the terms and conditions of release
  • Warrants and summons

Primarily, the North Carolina Public Records Law and the Freedom of Information Act govern the public's right to access criminal records in the state.

However, certain types of North Carolina Criminal Records are restricted or protected from public disclosure, such as those involving juveniles, certain mental health records, and sealed or expunged records.

What Are the Types of Crimes in North Carolina?

There are several types of crimes in North Carolina, such as violent and non-violent crimes, sexual offenses, property crimes, drug offenses, and traffic violations. But these crimes are categorized as felonies and misdemeanors depending on the degree of severity.


In North Carolina, there are ten types of felonies, ranging from the most severe (Class A) to the least serious (Class I). These groups are explained in more depth below, along with examples of crimes that fit into each class.

High-level Felonies

High-level felonies in North Carolina include Class A, Class B1 or B2, Class C, and Class D.

The Class A offenses are the most severe. They consist of first-degree murder and the unauthorized use of a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon for mass destruction. This felony type carries a potential life sentence in prison or the death penalty.

Some examples of high-level felonies in different classes are as follows:

  • Second-degree murder (Class B1)
  • First-degree forcible rape (Class B1)
  • Second-degree murder (Class B2)
  • Second-degree forcible rape (Class C)
  • Second-degree forcible sexual offense (Class C)
  • Armed robbery (Class D)
  • Voluntary manslaughter (Class D)

These offenses are likewise severely penalized, with the potential for a lengthy prison term for the defendant. Class B1 felonies have 144 months to life without parole, while Class B2 has 94 to 393 months imprisonment.

On the other hand, you have to serve 44 to 182 months behind bars for Class C felonies while 38 to 160 months for Class D.

Mid-level Felonies

These are offenses falling under Classes E, F, or G, which include:

  • Sexual activity by a custodian or substitute parent (Class E)
  • Discharging weapons into an occupied property (Class E)
  • Involuntary manslaughter (Class F)
  • Felonious restraint (Class F)
  • Second-degree burglar (Class G)
  • Common law robbery (Class G)

Class E felonies have a 15 to 63 months prison term, while Class F has 10 to 41 months. If you are guilty of a Class G felony, 8 to 31 months in prison await you.

Low-level Felonies

Low-level felonies in North Carolina cover Classes H and I offenses. Some examples under this category are as follows:

  • Assault by strangulation (Class H)
  • Breaking or entering buildings with felonious intent (Class H)
  • Larceny of property worth more than $1,000 (Class H)
  • Breaking or entering motor vehicles (Class I)
  • Forgery of notes, checks, securities (Class I)
  • Financial transaction card theft (Class I)

Generally, these offenses have prison terms of 4 to 25 months (Class H) and 3 to 12 months (Class I). But in most cases, probation, house arrest, community service, or drug addiction rehabilitation are often used as alternatives to prison time.


Misdemeanors in North Carolina are criminal offenses that are less serious than felonies. These offenses are typically punishable by a fine, probation, community service, or a short term of imprisonment in a local jail.

There are several classifications for misdemeanors, and the categories reflect the gravity of the offense. Here are the classes of misdemeanors in North Carolina:

Class 1A

Class 1A offenses are the most severe category of misdemeanors. The court may impose jail sentences of up to 150 days and penalties at its discretion. Some Class 1A misdemeanors are as follows:

  • Assault on a female
  • Assault using a deadly weapon or inflicting serious injury
  • Child assault under 12

Class 1

Some Class 1 misdemeanors include possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny of property worth $1,000 or less, and communication of threats. The penalties for conviction include up to 120 days in jail and fines at the court's discretion.

Class 2

If you commit any of the following Class 2 misdemeanors, you might face up to 60 days in jail and $1,000 in penalties:

  • Simple assault
  • Resisting a police officer
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Indecent exposure
  • Carrying concealed weapons
  • First-degree trespass

Class 3

Class 3 is the least severe classification of misdemeanor offenses. If convicted of this misdemeanor with less than four previous offenses, you will likely be fined or jailed for up to 20 days.

The following are some of the most prevalent Class 3 misdemeanors in North Carolina Criminal Records:

  • Second-degree trespass
  • Possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia
  • Fishing without a license (first offense)
  • Hunting without a license (first offense)
  • Unsealed liquor in the passenger area
  • Possession of marijuana (1/2 ounce or less)
  • Intoxicated and disruptive in public

How Does Probation Work in North Carolina?

Probation in North Carolina is a legal status that permits a person convicted of a crime to serve their sentence outside of prison, as long as they comply with specific conditions set by the court.

Here's how probation works in North Carolina:

Probation North Carolina Eligibility

Not all individuals are eligible for probation. The court may consider various factors, such as the nature of the offense, the offender's criminal history, and the level of risk the offender poses to the community.

The Division of Community Corrections (DCC) of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (DPS) manages the state probation. The DCC employs probation officers responsible for monitoring and enforcing the conditions of probation.

Probation Conditions

If the court orders probation, the person must comply with specific conditions set by the judge, which may include the following:

  • Meeting regularly with a probation officer
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol
  • Not committing any new crimes
  • Paying restitution or fines
  • Completing community service hours
  • Submitting to drug tests or other types of testing
  • Completing treatment programs, such as drug or alcohol counseling or anger management classes


During the probation period, a probation officer will supervise the offender and ensure they are complying with the conditions set by the court. The probation officer will also report any violations of probation to the court.

Generally, there are two types of probation in North Carolina: supervised and unsupervised. In the situation of unsupervised probation, no probation officer is present. During the probationary phase, your primary obligation is to avoid conflict.

Conversely, in probation supervision, you must meet your probation officer once per month. Your probation officer may demand a urine sample or a warrantless search of your residence at any time and without advance notice. You must pay monthly fees for monitoring and are not allowed to leave the state.

The probationary term for misdemeanors in North Carolina is typically between 12 and 18 months. On the other hand, felony charges usually range from 24 to 36 months.

Consequences of Violating Probation

If the offender violates any of the conditions of their probation, the court may impose additional penalties, including revoking probation and imposing a prison sentence.

The three most common causes of probation revocation are new criminal conviction during probation, multiple technical violations, and absconding.

How Does Parole Work in North Carolina?

A parole in North Carolina is the conditional release of an offender under supervision before the conclusion of their sentence. Before consideration, a parole-eligible offender must meet eligibility requirements.

Generally, criminals committed before October 1, 1994, may be eligible for parole. However, offenders with specific sentences, such as special probation and those serving terms for health legislation offenses, are not. In North Carolina, the parole system no longer exists after 1994.

A parole-eligible criminal must be re-evaluated at least once a year, except in murder and sexually violent crimes.

Felony offenders convicted under the Fair Sentencing Act (crimes committed from July 1981 to September 1994) and sentenced to 18 months or more must be granted a 90-day mandatory parole after their felony term.

The Structured Sentencing Act requires the offender to serve 100% of the minimum and 85% of the maximum sentences. Once convicted felons have completed their sentence, they are freed under post-release supervision.

Post-release supervision is a form of community supervision designed to help individuals transition back into society after release. The length of post-release supervision depends on the offense and can range from nine months to five years.

During this period, offenders must follow certain conditions, such as reporting to a probation officer and participating in treatment programs. Once these conditions are violated, the offenders must return to prison and serve additional time.

How Does Expungement Work in North Carolina?

Expungement in North Carolina is a legal process that allows a person to have their criminal record cleared or sealed. Once expunged, the records of the individual's arrest, charge, and conviction will be erased from public documents, meaning they will not be accessible to the general public.

Certain conditions must be met for an individual to be eligible for expungement in North Carolina. These conditions include the following:

  • Have completed the waiting time for the record you want to erase
  • Have paid all court-ordered costs and show evidence that you have done so
  • Have fulfilled all sentence terms, including any probation, parole, or other court-ordered requirements
  • Have neither an arrest warrant nor a criminal summons
  • Have no open criminal cases or outstanding criminal charges

Furthermore, the eligibility requirements for expungement will depend on the type of offense and the person's criminal record. In most cases, you can delete misdemeanor convictions after five years and after ten years for felonies. DWI convictions are never eligible for expungement unless dismissed.

Once an individual meets these conditions, they can file a petition form for expungement with the court in the county where the charge or conviction occurred.

The court will evaluate the petition and find eligibility for expungement. If the court approves, they will issue an order to delete the individual's criminal records.

The court will send the order to all relevant agencies, including the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), the DPS, and the local law enforcement agencies.

In North Carolina, the expungement procedure typically takes between 9 to 12 months, regardless of the conviction.

How To Obtain a Criminal Record in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Court System permits you to request a certified criminal record search by name for yourself or others from the Clerk of Superior Court in the local county. You must complete and print the Request for Certified Criminal Record Search form, attach the applicable fee, and submit it in person or by mail to the clerk's office.

You may use the public access computers at the clerk's office to do a free public criminal record check on yourself or others. This search returns free, on-demand court documents. However, the documents are not verified, and there may be printing expenses.

Another option you can employ is to use the SBI website. The Bureau has a "Background Checks" page where you can request North Carolina Criminal Records.

You can also obtain a criminal record from a local law enforcement agency in North Carolina. To do this, you will need to contact the agency and inquire about their procedures for obtaining a criminal record.

Generally, you will need to provide identification and complete a request form. Some agencies may charge a fee for the record check, while others may offer it free of charge. It's a good idea to call ahead and ask about the specific requirements and fees before visiting the agency in person.

Finally, the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts enables the public to get North Carolina Criminal Records via third-party vendors, who can charge a fee or allow requesters to do a free criminal records search.

What Are the Criminal Background Check Laws in North Carolina?

North Carolina allows employers to conduct statewide criminal background checks on job applicants. However, employers may only conduct this check with the job applicant's consent.

Here are the primary criminal background check laws in North Carolina:

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA is a federal law that controls the collection, transmission, and use of consumer credit information, including criminal records. Employers in North Carolina must comply with FCRA requirements when conducting criminal background checks.

Ban the Box

North Carolina does not have a statewide "ban the box" statute that forbids employers from inquiring about a job candidate's criminal background. However, some cities and counties in North Carolina have passed their own "ban the box" ordinances.

In addition to those laws, North Carolina law prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants based on expunged or pardoned arrest or conviction records and juvenile criminal records, except for certain types of employment such as law enforcement.


Counties in North Carolina

Police Departments and Sheriffe Office in North Carolina

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office700 East Fourth Street, Charlotte, NC
Wake County Sheriff's Office330 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh, NC
Guilford County Sheriff's Office400 W Washington Street, Greensboro, NC
Forsyth County Sheriff's Office301 North Church Street, Winston-Salem, NC
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office131 Dick St, Fayetteville, NC
Durham County Sheriff's Office510 South Dillard Street, Durham, NC
Buncombe County Sheriff's Office60 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC
Gaston County Sheriff's Office425 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Gastonia, NC
Union County Sheriff's Office3344 Presson Road, Monroe, NC
Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office30 Corban Ave SE, Concord, NC