Update: After months of organizing, advocacy, and having 1,000+ community members take to the capitol in 2019, the Second Chance Act (SB 562) will be signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper on June 25th 2020.
The Second Chance Act
1 in 4 North Carolinians have criminal records, creating devastating “collateral consequences” that impact housing, employment, and other opportunities.
The Second Chance Act is a bipartisan “clean slate” bill that will expand eligibility for expunging nonviolent criminal convictions after a waiting period, and automates expungement of certain dismissed or “not guilty” charges. This bill allows prosecutors to petition for expungement for dismissed or “not guilty” charges and Raise the Age convictions, and allows individuals to petition for expungement of multiple nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after 7 years of good behavior.
HOW THE SECOND CHANCE ACT/SB 562 PROVIDES CLEAN SLATE RELIEF:
RAISE THE AGE EXPUNCTIONS.
Any Misdemeanor or Class H or I Felony committed before Dec. 1, 2019 by a person between the ages of 16-18 (at the time of the offense) can file a petition for expunction after an active sentence, probation and post release have been completed and there are no restitution orders outstanding. District Attorneys can now file these expungement petitions, which provide an opportunity for mass relief efforts.
You cannot file for expunction if:
A. The violation was for motor vehicle laws under Ch. 20 including impaired driving
B. The violation requires registration pursuant to Article 27A of Ch. 14
The forms to file an expungement under these criteria will be made and distributed by Sept. 1, 2020. There is a $175 filing fee through the court for this expungement.
EXPUNCTION FOR CHARGES NOT RESULTING IN CONVICTION.
Felony Conviction no longer blocks these expungements
One Dismissal: If a person has a dismissal of a misdemeanor or felony, the court shall order expunction. Effective: Dec. 1, 2020. Petition based: Must file with court
Multiple Dismissals: If all charges are dismissed the court will order an expungement and if some of the charges are dismissed the court may order expungement. Effective: Dec. 1, 2020. Petition based: Must file with court
Finding of Not Guilty: A person charged with a misdemeanor or felony and a finding of not guilty or not responsible is entered, the court will file for expunction. Effective: Dec. 1, 2020. Petition based: Must file with court. Can be one or multiple offenses
After Dec. 1, 2021: A person charged with a crime on or after Dec. 1, 2021 and charges are dismissed, found not guilty, or not responsible will be expunged
Automated Relief: If all charges are dismissed in the case these offenses will be automatically expunged
Plea Agreement: These are not automated but you can petition for expungement of charges that are dismissed through a plea agreement
MODIFICATION OF EXPUNCTION OF NONVIOLENT MISDEMEANOR AND FELONY CONVICTIONS
If a person is granted an expunction under this section, they are not eligible for any other expunction under this section for offenses committed after the date of the previous expunction. Effective: Dec. 1, 2020 and applies to petitions filed on or after that date.
You can file for expunction of one nonviolent misdemeanor:
5 years after the date of conviction, or active sentence, probation or post release has been served; whichever occurs later. You must have no other felony or misdemeanor convictions other than traffic; and no outstanding restitution or civil judgements.
You can file for expunction of more than one nonviolent misdemeanor:
7 years after the last date of conviction, or active sentence, probation or post release has been served; whichever occurs later, and have no other convictions that are excluded from expunction eligibility, felony or misdemeanor. You cannot have any other conviction during the 7-year waiting period, and must have no outstanding restitution or civil judgements
You can file for expunction of one nonviolent felony conviction:
10 years after the date of conviction, or active sentence, probation or post release has been served; whichever occurs later. You cannot have any other convictions during the 10-year waiting period and must have no outstanding restitution or civil judgements. No other convictions that are excluded from expunction eligibility
On May 8, 2019, SB 562 The Second Chance Act passed in the Senate, 44-0.
On June 10, 2020, SB 562 The Second Chance Act passed in the House, 119-0.
Note: The definitions of “nonviolent misdemeanor” and “nonviolent felony” are not changed by this bill. Expunged criminal records are not available to the public, but expunged dismissals and convictions can still be accessed by district attorneys and considered by courts for sentencing if the person re-offends.