Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy kicked off its 2020 expunction clinics Jan. 22 with volunteers from the Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership to help 15 Mecklenburg County residents apply to have their criminal records expunged.
An expunction (also called an “expungement”) removes minor offenses and misdemeanors on one’s criminal record that create significant barriers to economic stability and opportunity.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy helps low-income Mecklenburg County residents get their criminal records expunged allowing them to pursue a broader range of economic opportunities.
The expunction clinic was the first of six to be held this year.
“This is a breath of fresh air,” said Bernard, who had been working toward a new start before coming to the clinic for help.
He heard about the expunction clinic and registered through Running Works, a Charlotte nonprofit that empowers individuals and families to break cycles of abuse, abandonment, neglect, poverty and homelessness through running, career development services, counseling, group therapy and housing initiatives.
“What I needed the most was to clean up my record instead of giving up,” he said.
Now Bernard is waiting to learn if his application will be approved.
Bernard is one of more than 2 million North Carolina residents living with a criminal record. Too often, these individuals are automatically denied employment, housing, and other opportunities, based on past involvement with the criminal justice system, including dismissed charges and long-ago convictions.
As part of its 2020 Advocacy Agenda, the Advocacy Center supports legislative efforts to expand eligibility for expunctions, such as The Second Chance Act, which passed with bipartisan support in the N.C. Senate last year. We are hopeful that the N.C. House of Representatives will consider and approve this legislation this spring.
Through our individual representation and advocacy, the Advocacy Center seeks to help people with criminal records have a fair chance at productive citizenship.
Special thanks to Lara Nichols and Ann Warren of Duke Energy; Kevin Denny and Justin Knapp of McGuireWoods LLP; Abigail Williams of K&L Gates LLP; Katie Clarke and Fern Patterson of Parker Poe; and Chad Crockford of Wells Fargo for volunteering their time through the Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership.
Wondering if you are eligible to clean up your criminal record?
Mecklenburg County residents can learn more and register for our upcoming clinics by calling 704-376-1600 ext. 510.
Registration is required to receive assistance. Applicants must not have any pending criminal charges.