Individuals with felony charges on their record or now serving time for such a conviction in North Carolina may have greater incentive to on the straight and narrow. A North Carolina bill to allow a judge to expunge certain nonviolent offenses has overwhelmingly passed the state Senate.

The bill passed July 2 in the Senate without debate and at last word was on its way to the governor’s office for apparent signature. The bill, which may offer hope for those wrestling with convictions for certain felony charges, passed the Senate with a 40-2 vote. The legislation allows a judge to erase or expunge specific nonviolent felony convictions if certain criteria are all met. The specifics of the bill require that the conviction must be at least 15 years in the past. Additionally, the individual seeking the expungement must be able to show and have someone testify to the fact that they have become citizens of good moral character. The bill only covers nonviolent H or I felony convictions.

This bill is like others that have been considered by the Senate in the last decade. However, this is the first to make it this far. Like nearly all legislation, there are proponents and opponents to this bill. Proponents believe the measure will allow convicted felons who are appropriately repentant to start anew and give themselves and their families a chance for a better tomorrow. Opponents are concerned that the bill makes North Carolina appear soft on crime and that it could negatively affect business owners.

If the governor signs this bill, it could be good news for a good many North Carolina residents with low-level felony convictions on their record. But it won’t apply to everyone, which reinforces that those who may find themselves facing felony charges should be assertive in fighting the allegations from the outset. As lawmakers have acknowledged by passing this measure, a felony conviction can have long-standing and widespread consequences.

Source:, “NC legislature approves bill to expunge felonies,” July 2, 2012