How many people in North Carolina have been convicted of a single felony, and nothing more? How many people were convicted of a low level drug possession crime or low level larceny, and have otherwise maintained a spotless record?
We’re about to find out, thanks to a new bill signed into law by Governor Bev Perdue earlier this month.
The expands the expungement opportunities available to North Carolinians. North Carolina is notoriously stingy with its expungements. First, generally, you are only permitted one expungement in your life – although there may be certain exceptions.
Second, for the most part, you must either be convicted for an offense that occurred before your 18th birthday, or found not guilty or had the charge voluntarily dismissed.
Third, in certain cases, including domestic violence related cases, the DA may require as an express condition of your deferral agreement that you not ever request an expungement.
The new law expands North Carolina’s expungement laws by allowing a person convicted of a low level, non-violent felony to apply for an expungement in three conditions:
- More than 15 years pass since the end of the punishment, or probationary period.
- The person not have had any other criminal convictions.
- The person show good moral character.
The process will not be a slow one. Already, the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts and local county clerks have been overwhelmed with the current volume of expungements under existing law. In some cases, it can take 6 to 10 months for an expungement to be returned.