Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) September 24, 2012
Convicted felons and misdemeanants may be eligible for expungements under a new North Carolina law passed this summer by the North Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Bev Perdue.
The law, House Bill 1023, is set to go into effect in December 2012 and would permit those convicted of a low level and non-violent felony and non-violent misdemeanor to apply for and receive an expungement, said Raleigh criminal lawyer Damon Chetson.
"People have had very limited avenues to apply for expungements until recently," said Mr. Chetson. "The new law, while not perfect, does help people who have been convicted of a single offense, have not previously had an expunction, and have waited at least 15 years since the either the conviction or the end of their punishment period before applying for relief."
In addition to clearing a person's record of the conviction, the law will help people who have lost gun rights as the result of a felony conviction.
"Under both North Carolina and federal criminal law, a convicted felon may not possess a firearm," said Mr. Chetson, a Raleigh criminal defense attorney. "We frequently get calls from people who have a single prior felony conviction but who were hunters when they were young, or wish to target shoot, or are, in fact, concerned about their safety, to restore their gun rights if the expungement is granted."
The new law requires that at least fifteen years pass since the conviction or the end of probation, or other punishment, before the person can file for the expungement. In addition, the person can have no intervening criminal convictions, other than for simple traffic offenses. And the person must show good character by filing affidavits from people who know them from the community.
"The law does not grant relief to anyone who was convicted of a Class A through G felony, nor does it apply in cases where violence was an element of the crime, for instance an assault," said Mr. Chetson. "In addition, sex offenses are excluded."
This new law follows a law passed by the legislature in 2011 that granted similar relief to juveniles, although the waiting period, instead of fifteen years, is five years.
In addition, North Carolina also enacted a separate provision in 2011 which enables certain people to apply for a Certificate of Relief. That provision does not grant an expungement, but does allow someone with two or fewer felony convictions of certain types to receive a Certificate that can enable them to better deal with the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as professional licensing.
"These are highly technical areas of the law," adds Raleigh DWI lawyer Damon Chetson. "Someone who thinks they may be entitled to relief, especially from an old felony conviction or a DWI or Driving While Impaired charge, should seek out the advice of a criminal defense lawyer."
Disclaimer: While The Chetson Firm works hard to achieve the best possible results in every case it handles, no outcome can be guaranteed. Past results do not guarantee future results. Each case is different. If you are facing a criminal investigation or arrest, seek the immediate assistance of a criminal lawyer licensed in your state. Raleigh lawyer Damon Chetson is licensed to practice in the state courts of North Carolina and in the federal courts of the Eastern District of North Carolina.