New Expungement Law – Are you Eligible?
On behalf of Randall & Stump, PLLC in Blog on Friday, April 5, 2019
In August 2017, the North Carolina General Legislature made sweeping changes to the existing expungement laws in North Carolina, which will benefit a substantial number of people who were previously denied the ability to file in the past. The changes made by the legislature become effective on December 1, 2017 and apply only to expungements filed on or after December 1, 2017.
The first change is related to the “waiting period” on prior convictions. Under N.C.G.S. 15A-145.5, individuals previously convicted of nonviolent felonies and/or misdemeanors had to wait 15 years before they could apply for an expungement. Under the changes made by the legislature that become effective on December 1, 2017, the waiting period for nonviolent felony convictions is reduced from 15 years, down to 10 years. Additionally, the waiting period for nonviolent misdemeanor convictions is reduced from 15 years to 5 years. The waiting period still begins from the date or conviction or from the time the person completes the terms of their sentence (i.e. probation), whichever comes later.
The second change relates to the elimination of prior limitations on the number of dismissals and/or findings of not guilty, someone could expunge. Previously, under N.C.G.S. 15A-146, individuals were limited to expunge dismissals and/or findings of not guilty that either 1) were disposed of during the same term of court or 2) that occurred within 12 months of each other. More often than not, this left people having to choose what dismissals and/or findings of not guilty they wanted to expunge, while being unable to address other charges with the same disposition solely based on the abstract time limits of the governing statute. Under the changes made by the legislature that become effective on December 1, 2017, individuals will be permitted to file an expungement for ALL dismissal and/or findings of not guilty they’ve ever had on their criminal history, regardless of timing. Further, in cases where individuals have filed a previous expungement, those same folks will be permitted to file a new expungement for any and all dismissals and/or findings of not guilty they were previously unable to expunge during the first go around.
Obviously, with these sweeping changes the flood gates for expungement applications will open up on December 1, 2017. At Randall & Stump, PLLC we would be more than happy to discuss your eligibility to have prior charges expunged under the new laws and assist in preparing your application so that you possibly beat the rush once the changes become common knowledge. If you are interested in discussing your options further, please contact our office today by calling (980) 237-4579 or use our online contact form.