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New changes to North Carolina’s expunction laws may help citizens

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2020 | Criminal Defense

The North Carolina Legislature has again revised this state’s expunction laws.

Some of the changes have already taken effect, and others that are slated to take effect in the upcoming months likewise promise to give some Harnett County residents the chance to clear charges or convictions from their records.

Some records will be automatically expunged

One big change is that people will have an easier time of getting court records and arrests records removed from the public eye when a charge ultimately gets dismissed or if a person gets found not guilty. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when a charge gets dropped as part of a plea bargain.

In fact, after the end of 2021, after a not guilty finding or a dismissal, the court must expunge records even without a request to do so.

It will be easier to expunge some criminal convictions

The new law will also make it easier for those who did make a mistake in the past to be able to move on without a criminal record haunting their job prospects.

Specifically, people who have several misdemeanors they want to expunge from their records may only have to wait 7 years to do so instead of 5 years per offense.  A non-violent felony still requires a 10-year wait, and the wait begins after a person completely serves his sentence.

Expunction can be a career saver

An expunction of records in North Carolina means that most  government agencies and businesses will not be able to locate information on, much less consider, the offense that gets expunged. This means that a citizen may be able to get a coveted job or have some other opportunity they otherwise would not enjoy.

Expungement really can be a way of getting a fresh start on life. However, it is a complicated process, and not every record can be expunged. Understanding the legal details of expunction is important.