AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE EXPUNCTION LAWS OF THIS STATE.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Makes the following changes to proposed GS 15A-145.8. Now allows a person or the district attorney (DA) to file a petition for expunction of any Class H or I felony or misdemeanor conviction if the offense was committed while the person was less than 18 but older than 16 years old (previously did not allow DAs to petition). Explicitly prohibits filing a petition until any active sentence, probation period, or post-release supervision has been completed and the person has no outstanding restituition orders or related civil judgments. Specifies that any motor vehicle law violation and any offense requiring registration as a sex offender are ineligible for expunction under the statute (previously excluded traffic offenses, impaired driving offenses, and offenses requiring registration as a sex offender). Adds notice and service requirements of the petition to the DA of the court where the case resulting in the conviction was tried (if the petition was not filed by the DA). Upon service, allows the DA to object to the petition. Requires the DA to make best efforts to notify the victim of the expunction request prior to the hearing. Eliminates the provision that prohibits collection of a fee for the filing of a petition under this section and precludes a petitioner from having to pay costs of expunction. Instead establishes a $175 filing fee and directs clerks to remit $122.50 of each fee to the Department of Public Safety for associated criminal records check costs and $52.50 of each fee retained by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to pay petititon processing costs. Exempts indigents from the new fee provisions. Makes technical and organizational changes.
Makes clarifying and technical changes to the proposed changes GS 15A-146 regarding expunction of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty. Now refers to district attorneys rather than prosecutors who may petition the court for expunction of either, in addition to the individual charged. Concerning multiple charges and dismissals or findings of not guilty, requires the court to hold a hearing to determine if the records of any charges not dismissed retain evidenciary value. Requires a hearing in cases of multiple charges and dismissals when a charge resulted in a conviction on the same day of dismissal. Subsequent to the hearing and the court finding that all related charges have reached a final disposition, allows the court to order the expunction of any charge that was dismissed (previously generally required the court to hold a hearing if the court finds that not all charges were dismissed and authorized the court to order the expunction of any of the dismissed charges). Makes similar changes concerning multiple charges and findings of not guilty to require a determination that all related criminal charges have reached final disposition before the court can order expunction. Changes the date upon which dismissals and findings of not guilty are expunged by operation of law to now apply the provisions to dismissals and findings of not guilty on or after July 1, 2020 (was December 1, 2019). Requires the DA who filed the dismissal or judicial officer who ordered the dismissal to provide notice of the dismissal to the clerk for dismissal on or after July 1, 2020 (previously also included notice of the expunction). Makes conforming changes.
Modifies the proposed changes to GS 15A-145.5 concerning expunction of nonviolent misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Clarifies that convictions of felonies listed as an exception to the term nonviolent felony under the act make a person ineligible for expunction petitions under the statute. Clarifies that the court must find that the petition has not previously been granted an expunction of a nonviolent felony under the statute, among other required findings, prior to entering an order under the statute (previosuly required a finding that the person had not been granted an expunction during the applicable five or ten-year waiting periods). Amends the proposed provisions regarding petitions for expunction of one or more nonviolent misdemeanor convictions that allowed for certain expunctions after a seven-year waiting period to allow, rather than require, the court to grant the expunction when the specified requirements are met. Adds that if the court denies the petition, the order must include a finding as to the reason for the denial.
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