North Carolina Second Chance Act

November 2nd, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate

On June 25, 2020, North Carolina Governor Cooper signed SB 562 also known as the “Second Chance Act” (the “Act”) into law. The Act, which passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate, revises expunction laws in the state in an effort to remove barriers to employment and housing for North Carolinians.

Per the Act, individuals may petition for expunction of misdemeanors, thus clearing the crime from the individual’s record, as well as Class H and I felonies under the following circumstances:

  • If the offense was committed prior to December 1, 2019
  • If the individual committed the offense prior to turning 18, but after turning 16
  • If active sentences, probation, or post-release supervision are complete and they have no restitution orders or outstanding civil judgments ordered for restitution

The Act clarifies that individuals with multiple applicable convictions are eligible, and that these accommodations do not apply to impaired driving or sexual assault charges. The fee to file for a petition is $175, payable to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Effective December 1, 2020, individuals may file petitions for expunction for the following:

  • One nonviolent misdemeanor conviction after 5 years, if the individual has no other misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • Multiple nonviolent misdemeanor convictions after 7 years, if the individual has no other misdemeanor or felony convictions that are listed as exceptions to being considered “nonviolent”
  • One nonviolent felony conviction after 10 years, if the individual has no convictions of misdemeanors that are listed as exceptions to being considered “nonviolent,” or any felony convictions

Cases disposed on or after December 1, 2021 as dismissed or resulting in not guilty or not responsible findings will be automatically expunged.

North Carolina employers should review their hiring policies and screening programs and consult with their legal counsel regarding their consideration of criminal history information in response to the Act. Employers who request self-disclosure of criminal history information should similarly review those processes and consider how the Act may impact them.

The full text of the Act can be found here.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

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Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.