Effective December 1, 2018
The “Certificate of Relief” Bill
North Carolina passed a bill to help job seekers who have criminal convictions. House Bill 774 (HB 774) expands the scenarios under which individuals may apply for a “Certificate of Relief.” Employers are encouraged to hire individuals who earn this certificate.
Former offenders may be eligible to receive a certificate if they:
Have no more than three Class H or I felonies.
- Completed their sentence at least twelve months prior to applying for the certificate.
- Complied with every requirement of their sentence, such as probation, educational requirements or anger management classes.
- Are actively engaged (or seeking to be) in training, education or a rehabilitation program.
- Have no pending charges.
- Do not pose an unreasonable risk to the safety of the public or an individual.
The bill also creates protections for employers:
- Businesses that hire individuals because they were granted a certificate will not be liable for claims of negligent hiring.
If a person is hired based on the merit of this certificate and later incurs a new conviction, then they must inform their employer within ten days.
HB 774 was signed by Governor Roy Cooper and goes into effect on December 1, 2018.
Effective December 1, 2017
New Rules For Expunging Criminal Records
Governor Roy Cooper signed North Carolina Senate Bill 445 (SB 445), which creates an expedited and standardized process for first-time, non-violent offenders to expunge certain types of arrest and criminal records. The bill reduces the amount of time that residents must wait to start the expungement process from 15 years to 10 years for a first-time, non-violent felony and 5 years for a non-violent misdemeanor.
This law went into effect on December 1, 2017. Therefore, more North Carolina residents may soon be eligible to have certain records expunged. Arrest and criminal records that have been expunged cannot be considered by employers and should not be included on background checks.
The goal of SB 445 is to give non-violent offenders a second chance. Governor Roy Cooper said this about the bill: "We want North Carolinians who have corrected their mistakes to go on to live purposeful, productive lives."