North Carolina lawmakers have changed the way criminal records are handled in the state.
The existence of a criminal record can stymie a person’s ability to make a decent living beyond minimum wage, in some instances. Having a conviction for a crime can affect your ability to get a job, housing, insurance, and acceptance into some college programs. However, if you live in North Carolina, there is relief. The NC General Assembly approved a bill to make it easier to expunge a criminal record, as lawmakers and members of the legal community seek ways to curtail the state’s growing unemployment rate. Currently, there are more than 1 million people in North Carolina with criminal records, representing a 30 percent increase between 2006 and 2008.
Passed in July of 2012, House Bill 1023, allows those who have been convicted of either a Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor or felony beyond a Class H, to apply to have the record permanently erased. As long as a person can show that he or she has had good moral character and no new criminal convictions, records can be expunged after 15 years from the date of conviction or following the completion of their sentence – which ever occurs first. However, the law will not allow habitual offenders to apply for expungement, and more than one conviction may not be erased.
The expungement process begins by submitting a petition to the clerk’s office in the county from which the conviction took place. The District Attorney’s Office has 30 days to either approve or deny the petition, during which time a background check will be conducted. Crimes which do not qualify for expunction include those involving sexual assault, stalking, weapons, and drugs.
Petition forms may also be obtained by visiting the website below.