Roy Cooper and the N.C. Legislature give people with criminal records a second chance
Yesterday, Gov. Roy Cooper signed the Second Chance Act (SB 562) into law after its unanimous passage in the N.C. General Assembly. This “clean slate” legislation expands eligibility for N.C. residents to have nonviolent criminal offenses removed from their records through expunctions.
This is welcome news for Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the people it serves because it eliminates barriers to safety, economic stability and family security.
Through its Community Redevelopment Project, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy helps eligible citizens get expunctions, which seal criminal records from public view and give people a second chance at a life as law-abiding citizens without barriers to opportunity.
More than 2 million North Carolinians have a criminal record. Dismissed charges and old convictions have lasting consequences on individuals that impact their access to employment, housing and other opportunities.
“The Second Chance Act is a welcomed fresh start for millions of North Carolinians with criminal records who would like a clean slate.”Lashieka Hardin, attorney, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
“This legislation is also a significant step toward addressing the severe disparities that exist in our justice system that disproportionately impact people based on income and race,” Hardin said.
The Second Chance Act is a critical step in the process of improving racial justice and equity in our society. The NAACP reports that a criminal record can reduce the likelihood of a job offer by almost 50 percent, and the negative impact of a criminal record is doubled for Black people. A Black person with a criminal record has a 10 percent chance of getting a call back compared to white men who have a 22 percent chance.
The Second Chance Act will provide Black men and women who are disproportionately charged and convicted of crimes the chance to pursue opportunity without a criminal record holding them back.
What the Second Chance Act Will Do:
- Automatic relief for certain misdemeanor and felony charges that are dismissed or disposed “not guilty.”
- Relief for Juvenile offenders by allowing the expunction of misdemeanor and Class H or I felony convictions that occurred when a person was either 16 or 17 and before December 1, 2019.
- Gives prosecutors the power to petition for the expunction of dismissed charges and charges disposed “not guilty” as well as “Raise the Age” convictions.
- Expands eligibility by allowing individuals to petition for the expunction of nonviolent misdemeanor criminal convictions after seven years of good behavior.
If you think you qualify for an expunction or have any questions about the process, call Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy at 704-376-1600 ext 501. Also, tune in to our Facebook Live on Tuesday at noon for more detailed information about the Second Chance Act.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy believes all people deserve second chances at opportunity, and we’re glad to see that after many years, the state of North Carolina has taken a step toward that goal.
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Governor Roy Cooper signed the Second Chance Act today, granting millions a second chance at opportunity.
Share this message with your networks and encourage those who may qualify for an expunction to contact Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for more information on what to do next.
Learn more information about Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s work on expunctions through its Community Redevelopment Project.