A bill signed into law in July allows former convicted felons in North Carolina to expunge their records.
Expunging criminal records is important, because it helps those with criminal records, or even just charges against them, find work more easily. Teri Schultz, branch manager for Cape Fear Staffing, told FayObserver.com that her company has had to turn people away for their criminal history, but some of them would be able to gain employment if their records were expunged.
“Absolutely, it would be easier to place people like that” under the new law, she said.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Bev Perdue, requires offenders to have completed their sentence 15 years ago, and must demonstrate that they are of “good moral character” – ie, they cannot be repeat offenders or have other expungements on their record. The crime they were incarcerated for also has to be a non-violent misdemeanor or felony.
Prior expungement laws in North Carolina excluded one-time criminals who had been convicted. Those who had “not guilty” entered on their cases, or if the state dropped the charges, could apply for expungement. Juvenile offenders, first-time drug offenders under 21 years old, and minors charged with alcohol possession could also petition to expunge their records.
Adults who committed violent crimes are still not qualified to expunge their records. Repeat offenders also cannot expunge their records, and former criminals cannot apply for more than one expungement.
The expungement process can take about 6 months.
Supporters of the law say that it helps get former criminals on the right track, and rewards them for not committing more crimes. Expunging their records will help them with job applications, loans, and educational opportunities, which can all help boost the economy as well as self-esteem.
South Carolina currently offers expungement, but the laws can be complicated. A recent bill was vetoed by the governor, and her veto was not overturned. However, if you wish to seek expungement of your criminal record, you can get help. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the process of expunging your criminal record. We offer free, confidential consultations, so contact us today to discuss the facts of your case. 803.252.4800.