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Historic Expunction Bill Has Passed The North Carolina General Assembly

Press Release- Senator Angela Bryant
A Historic Expunction Bill Has Passed The North Carolina General Assembly

Last night, the North Carolina Senate passed Senate Bill 445, titled Expungement Process Modifications and it will now go to Governor Roy Cooper for his signature. I was a primary sponsor of this bill as well Senator Tommy Tucker and Senator Angela Bryant. This bill would result in several significant changes in the granting of expunctions under North Carolina law. The term “expunction” applies to the process of removing from a person’s criminal record, charges brought against them which may have subsequently been dismissed or resulting in a finding of not guilty or in some cases a conviction might have occurred.

Typically in North Carolina, a person is only granted one expunction in his or hers lifetime. However, this bill would allow a person to obtain more than one expunction if the charge brought against him or she was dismissed or resulted in a verdict of not guilty. The bill would also reduce the time a person who was a first time offender of a non-violent misdemeanor has to wait before seeking an expunction after a conviction from 15 years to 5 years. The bill would reduce the waiting time for a person convicted of a first-time nonviolent felony from fifteen years to ten years. If a first-time convicted offender subsequently was charged and convicted of another crime then a district attorney would be able to take the charge for which they received an expunction under consideration in sentencing that individual for the second offense.

A companion bill was filed by Representative John Faircloth, Representative Sarah Stevens, Representative Chuck McGrady, and Representative Robert T. Reives in the NC House. This bill will provide a meaningful second chance to many first time offenders who now find it difficult to seek employment or to gain admission to colleges and universities by virtue of a mistake that they might have made as a youthful offender and for which they have paid their debts to society. This bill received the support of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys as well as the NC Second Chance Alliance since it will allow people who deserve a second chance an opportunity to turn their lives around. I would like to thank Senator Tucker, Senator Bryant, former Representative Leo Daughtry as well as all of my colleagues in the NC House who sponsored this bill. I would also like to thank all my constituents as well as persons from across our state who contacted me to voice their support for this bill.

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