New North Carolina Law: Rebirth of Your Good Credit?

Written by on October 28, 2012 in Money - No comments | Print this page

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Criminals are not all created equal and society has an interest in keeping dangerous and threatening individuals away from the general public. Society also has an interest in maintaining records on who has been convicted of crimes in the past. However, some individuals who are convicted of crimes on one occasion successfully reform their lives and stay out of trouble. To help these people rebuild their lives and their credit, most states have statutes authorizing courts to expunge records of certain offenses; North Carolina recently joined that group.

Expunction in North Carolina
Historically, North Carolina did not permit expunction for criminal convictions for adults. Certain convictions could be expunged if the defendant was under the age of 18, but not as adults. Defendants could expunge arrests that did not result in a conviction, but not actual convictions. To prevent individuals from being haunted by a single indiscretion, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1023.

House Bill 1023 permits expunctions for certain misdemeanors and felonies under certain circumstances. First, the expunction order must come 15 years or later after the conviction or sentencing. Second, the expunction is the former defendant’s first expunction. Third, the petitioner must be of good moral character. Fourth, the petitioner must have no other convictions, civil judgments, or restitution orders pertaining to the original incident.

The new statute is limited in its scope. It does not apply to most felonies and Class A misdemeanors, as well as a variety of other offenses. Fortunately, the new law applies to convictions for driving under the influence. It allows individuals with one criminal conviction who have since lived lawful lives to escape their past and rebuild their trustworthiness; it is not a license to commit additional offenses and escape sentencing enhancements. All of these requirements must be met prior to an expunction order. House Bill 1023 becomes effective on December 1, 2012.

The Benefits of Expunction
An order to expunge records is a court order to delete records related to a particular offense. In the case of a conviction for driving under the influence, the conviction will be removed from the defendant’s criminal record and driving record. Defendants may deny that the conviction occurred, but must disclose it if applying for a position as a police officer. This permits defendants to start anew and begin rebuilding their credit ratings.

The presence of a criminal conviction on the defendant’s record can significantly affect his or her future. Employers seeking out the most qualified candidates for a competitive position will frequently pass on candidates with a criminal record. Applicants for positions involving driving motor vehicles who have convictions for driving under the influence will be rejected, as the potential liability in hiring such a person is too great. With an expunction, defendants can apply for loans or job positions with a clean record.

One past offense should not affect an individual’s entire life. Starting in December, 2012, former defendants may get their records expunged. Presently law-abiding citizens with a past conviction should consider contacting a dui attorney Charlotte NC for a consultation. An attorney can walk an interested client through the process to obtain an expunction.

This is a guest post.  Ann Bailey is a former journalist and currently contributes independent reports on various legal and business issues.  If you feel you are eligible for the new expunction process, contact a Powers McCartan dui attorney Charlotte NC for help with research, filing and other documentation you may need.

Photo Credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiedfw/2539785521/

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