Potential Expansion of Expungement Opportunities Moving at NC Legislature

Posted by Sean P. CecilApr 24, 20192 Comments

As detailed in a recent blog post, expunging a criminal case can mean the difference between getting a job or apartment and living in your parents' basement (if you are luck enough to have parents with a basement). The North Carolina legislature just expanded the availability of expunctions effective at the beginning of 2018. The expansion included reducing the required period of conviction-free time for expungement of a misdmeanor conviction from fifteen to five years, and allowing for expunction of multiple dismissed cases.  Currently the legislature is contemplating further expansion to allow expunction of any non-violent misdemeanor or low-level felony that was committed while the subject was sixteen or seventeen years old. The proposal seems to be an attempt to maintain consistency with the pending "raise the age" law that will treat those children as "juveniles" in the criminal justice system; they are currently treated as adults until December of this year. 

The pending legislation, HB121, passed the NC House of Representatives on April 15 on a vote of 106-2. If the Bill becomes law, it will also allow for immediate expunction of dismissed charges regardless of a prior felony conviction; under current law dismissed charges can be dismissed only if the person is not a convicted felon. 

Expanded opportunities for expunction is good for people and the communities they live in. As criminal justice reform continues to gather steam in the form of examination of cash bail system and the atrocious consequences of our nation's 40+ year old "war on drugs" it is a step in the right direction to allow people who have made past mistakes to put those mistakes behind them once they have fulfilled reasonable requirements for atonement. 

We have experience with expunction petitions and are available to assist with Wake County expunction petitions. Give us a call or fill out the form in our sidebar to schedule a free teleconference to explore whether you might be eligible to clean up past criminal history.