Bill Summary for S 562 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Jul 10 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 562 (Public) Filed Tuesday, April 2, 2019
AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS REVISIONS TO THE EXPUNCTION LAWS OF THIS STATE.
Intro. by Britt, Daniel, McKissick.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 3rd edition makes the following changes.

Part I.

Amends proposed GS 15A-145.8 to limit expunction eligibility to offenses committed prior to December 1, 2019, while the person was less than 18 years old, but at least 16 years old. Establishes that the victim has a right to be present at any hearing on the petition for expunction upon request and the victim's views and concerns must be considered by the court at the hearing. Makes conforming changes concerning the required findings by the court prior to entering an order. Also clarifies that the requirements that the person have completed any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision, and have no outstanding restitution order or outstanding civil judgments, apply only to the offense eligible for expunction. Specifies that the clerk must forward the expunction order, rather than the petition, to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). Makes organizational, technical, and clarifying changes. 

Part II.

Further amends GS 15A-151.5, concerning prosecutor access to expunged files, to allow for records of a criminal conviction expunged under subdivisions (1) through (7b) of subsection (a), as amended, on or after July 1, 2018, to be considered a prior conviction and used for the following purposes: (1) to calculate the prior record level and prior conviction level, if appropriate; (2) to serve as a basis for indictment for a habitual offense; (3) when a conviction of a prior offense raises the offense level of a subsequent offense; (4) to determine eligibility for relief under GS 90-96 (conditional discharge for first controlled substance offense); or (5) when permissible in a criminal case under the specified NC Rules of Evidence (previously, only provided for use to calculate prior record level, and did not extend to the newly added expunction records). Provides that the information maintained by AOC and made available under the statute, as amended, is prima facie evidence of the expunged conviction for the allowable purposes. Makes conforming technical changes. Provides that expungement of a conviction cannot serve as a basis to challenge a conviction or sentence entered before the expungement of that conviction. 

Amends GS 15A-151 to allow AOC to disclose expungement files for expungements pursuant to new GS 15A-145.8 and GS 15A-146, as amended, upon request of State or local law enforcement, the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission, and the NC Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission.

Maintains the December 1, 2019, effective date for Part II of the act.

Part III.

Amends the proposed changes to GS 15A-146, regarding expunction of records when charges are dismissed or there are findings of not guilty. Concerning petitions for expungement involving multiple offenses, also allows the district attorney to petition the court, and no longer requires the court to hold a hearing when any charge resulted in a conviction on the day of dismissal or had not yet reached a final disposition. Consolidates the provisions concerning petitions for expunction for charges resulting in findings of not guilty. Excepts from the provisions regarding the effect of expunctions permissible evidentiary purposes in criminal cases, as specified in GS 15A-151.5(b)(5), as enacted. Makes organizational changes to the provisions concerning dismissals and findings of not guilty on or after July 1, 2020. Now provides for expunction by operation of law if any person is charged with a crime, either a misdemeanor or felony, or is charged with an infraction, and (1) all charges are disposed of on or after July 1, 2020, and (2) all charges in the case are dismissed without leave, dismissed by the court, or result in a finding of not guilty or not responsible (previously, excluded motor vehicle law violations). Eliminates the related procedural provisions, and instead direct the AOC to develop and have in place procedures to automate the expunction of records pursuant to subsection (a4), as amended, prior to July 1, 2020. Adds a new provision to authorize an arresting agency to maintain investigative records related to a charge that has been expunged pursuant to the statute, effective December 1, 2019. Makes further conforming and technical changes.

Part IV. 

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 15A-145.5, regarding expunction of certain misdemeanors and felonies. Concerning when the court can treat multiple nonviolent felonies and nonviolent misdemeanors as one conviction under the statute, no longer requires that the nonviolent felonies or nonviolent misdemeanors not to have been alleged to have occurred after the person had already been served with criminal process for the commission of a nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor. Modifies the petition process to now allow a person to petition the court for one or more nonviolent misdemeanor convictions or one nonviolent felony conviction (was, one or more nonviolent misdemeanor convictions or nonviolent felony convictions), according to the following time restrictions: (1) for expunction of one nonviolent felony misdemeanor, no earlier than the later of five years after the date of conviction or when any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served; (2) for expunction of more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, the later of seven years after the date of the person's last conviction other than a traffic offense not listed in the petition, or seven years after any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served; and (3) for expunction of one nonviolent felony, the later of 10 years after the date of the conviction or 10 years after any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served. Makes conforming changes. Adds that the victim has the right to be present at any hearing on the petition for expunction upon request, and the victim's views and concerns must be considered by the court at the hearing. Makes organizational and clarifying changes to the required findings of the court prior to entering an order under the statute. Concerning findings required for expunction of one or more nonviolent misdemeanors, requires the petitioner to have no convictions for any other felony or misdemeanor, other than a traffic offense, for one nonviolent misdemeanor petition, or for more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, no convictions for a misdemeanor or a felony listed as an exception to the terms "nonviolent misdemeanor" or "nonviolent felony" under the statute. 

Part V.

Changes the effective date of the act to the date the act becomes law (was, December 1, 2019).

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