June 18, 2020
A proposed N Carolina bill would allow the expungement of certain criminal records. It was approved by the House and will be considered by the Senate.
Lawmakers in North Carolina are considering Senate Bill 562 (SB562), which is also known as the Second Chance Act. It would create expungement allowances for certain types of juvenile misdemeanor and felony convictions that occurred prior to December 1, 2019. SB562 would also empower adults to expunge applicable records.
• A resident or District Attorney may request expunction for misdemeanor or Class H or I felony records if the offense was committed during the specified timeframe by an individual who was between 16 and 18 years old.
• Requests cannot be made if the petitioner has an active sentence, is on probation or has not paid required restitution.
• If a person was charged with a misdemeanor or felony, but the charges were later dismissed, then that person may petition the court to have those records expunged.
• If a person was charged with multiple offenses that were dismissed, the person may petition to have each of those charges expunged.
• Persons who were charged but not found guilty may ask for their arrest records to be expunged.
The proposed bill offers other provisions for the potential expungement of criminal records. Read the complete Second Chance Act.
SB562 received support on a bipartisan level. Representative Ted Davis Jr. said: "This is a jobs' bill because people have been previously completely excluded from jobs and other opportunities because of long-ago convictions and dismissed charges. So if this goes into effect, those individuals who can get their records expunged will have a chance to get gainfully employed."
The bill was reviewed and approved by the North Carolina House of Representatives with a vote of 119-0. Next it will be heard in the Senate. Supporters estimate that SB562 could help around 800,000 residents who have criminal records.
Millions of Americans are negatively affected by convictions from their past. These records are often for minor offenses that have since been de-criminalized. Having any criminal history can be a detriment to a person when they are looking for employment, housing or other necessities.
By allowing Americans to expunge outdated or irrelevant convictions, people are given second chances to succeed and rejoin society. Once a record is expunged, it is no longer publicly available. It cannot be included in consumer reports, such as pre-employment background checks.
Employers rely on background checks to help them make informed decisions and create safe workplaces. A key component involves learning if otherwise qualified candidates have records of which they should be aware. Hiring someone with a serious criminal history could be a liability to any organization.
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