RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina General Assembly on Tuesday finalized bipartisan legislation that will allow more people to get their criminal records cleared of lower-level criminal convictions and dismissed charges.
The Senate gave unanimous approval to the "Second Chance Act," which had the backing of groups across the political spectrum. The measure, which cleared the House last week, builds upon recent expunction laws that allow people who committed crimes due to youthful indiscretions to eliminate obstacles in background checks for employment, housing and other needs.
“There’s a lot of lives that this bill will change,” Sen.Danny Britt, a Robeson County Republican and bill sponsor, said on the Senate floor.
Under the bill now heading to Gov. Roy Cooper's desk, convictions of nonviolent, low-grade felonies and misdemeanors committed while a person was 16 and 17 years old before last December can now be removed. Such counts are now considered juvenile court offenses under the state's "Raise the Age" reform, and thus not on a person's public record.
The Second Chance Act also automatically removes misdemeanor and felony charges that are dismissed or disposed as “not guilty” starting next month. And a person or prosecutors can now seek to have multiple nonviolent misdemeanors removed more quickly. FULL ARTICLE