New NC Law Wipes Slate Clean for Some Felons
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chances are, when you were young, you made a dumb decision or two. If you got caught, that dumb decision may haunt you, even as an adult. A new North Carolina law aims to give you some relief.
As of December 1st, adults convicted of some crimes - even some felonies - can seek to have their records expunged. The conviction must be at least 15 years old and your record during that time span must be clean.
Some of the crimes that qualify for expungement include white collar offenses, larcenies, embezzlement, writing bad checks, shoplifting, even some drug charges. There are still some gray areas. It remains to be seen if DWI's or hit and runs, technically classified as traffic offenses, would be included. Sex crimes, violent crimes and drug distribution are excluded from the clean slate law.
"I think the statute is going to, ultimately, in the long run reduce crime," says attorney Brad Smith. He says the number one call he gets is from people who committed a crime a long time ago and now, can't get a job. "If somebody cannot make a living the honest way, then I think you find a lot of times they'll make a living the dishonest way," he says.
On the flip side, employers may worry the expungements will prevent them from getting a clear picture of a job candidate. "It really won't impact employers that much if they really read the law," says Kenny Colbert of the Employers Association. Colbert calls the new law a "safe" expungement law, one that provides an opportunity for second chances. He says, "I personally am a big advocate of giving people a second chance."
Attorneys across the state are bracing for the influx of calls from interested people but getting your record expunged may not be cheap or fast. There are series of steps that have to be followed and a judge makes the final call.