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Effects of the recent expunction law

A conviction for a crime can have lasting effects on an offender, even after the party pays the debt to society. For some people, it can limit job opportunities, housing options and more.

In such instances, receiving an expunction could help provide advancement within their lives. A recent North Carolina law may help to make this process a reality for more individuals.


The expunction law that took effect in December of 2017, Senate Bill 445, made a few important changes to the previous expunction law. The main changes include:

  • A reduction in the waiting period to apply for an expunction after a conviction for a misdemeanor, from 15 years to five years
  • A reduction in the waiting period after a felony conviction to apply for an expunction, from 15 years to 10 years
  • Removal of limit on the number of dismissals the court may expunge

Along with these changes, a new law, House Bill 280, raises the age that minors may be tried as adults for most non-violent charges from 16 to 18. That law goes into effect in December of 2019.


All these changes work together to serve a few different purposes. However, the most pressing cause is to aid parties in being able to clear their criminal records quicker, or at all. This may lead to a number of positive changes for individuals.


At the time of the initial passing of the Senate bill, the hope was to aid 2 million North Carolina residents in clearing their criminal records and obtaining jobs. As time goes on, the reach of these new provisions has room to grow. Particularly in the case of certain non-violent offenses, it can allow parties to seek opportunities quickly after release, allowing them to provide for themselves and, hopefully, get (and remain) on a positive path. 

These changes do help, but the expunction process can still be complex. Take some time to review the law, and consider consulting with a professional to see how this law could benefit your particular legal situation.

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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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