A local lawmaker has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to lessen North Carolina Expungement Wait Time
Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, put forward S.B. 445, titled Expungement Process Modifications, in an effort to give nonviolent first offenders a second chance. The bill passed the Senate last week with an unanimous vote and is on Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk waiting to be signed into law. It will lessen North Carolina Expungement Wait Time.
Bryant said the bill will standardize and reduce the waiting time for expungements for first-time, non-violent offenders and for those with charges who are found not guilty. S.B. 445 is a jobs bill that aims to restore opportunities for those that have made mistakes, Bryant said.
“We believe that every person should have the opportunity to be a productive citizen — this bill brings us one step closer to achieving that goal,” Bryant said.
Under current law, a person must wait 15 years to have a non-violent offense expunged from their record — more than three times longer than most other states. SB 445 reduces the wait time for first-time offenders with non-violent misdemeanors from 15 years to five years; and for first-time nonviolent felony offenders from 15 years to 10 years.
The bill will also provide prosecutors electronic access to records expunged after Dec. 1, 2017, and establishes a uniform procedure for filing expungement petitions.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, and Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, also cosponsored the bill.
“Every person deserves a second chance in life,” McKissick said. “Rather than spending 15 years of their lives with the burden of the past on their shoulders, this bill gives people the opportunity to move past that and to move forward.”. The bill would decrease North Carolina Expungement Wait Time for people looking to clean their criminal records
N.C. Second Chance Alliance, which lobbied in support of the bill, noted the personal and economic impact it would have on the state. According to their study, the economic benefit of expungement per individual, per year adds up to $9,473 in increased income, impact to the state’s gross domestic product, increased tax revenue and reduced dependency on government assistance.
Increasingly, employers seek background checks on new hires and even existing employees. Job applicants with criminal records, who may be otherwise qualified for a job, are often summarily excluded from hiring consideration. Is that fair? If you are eligible, a North Carolina expungement may reopen doors of opportunity that had been shut for a one-time offender. At some point in life, each one of us deserves a second chance. It is possible when we help you get your Criminal Record Expunged.
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