AN ACT TO EXPAND THE AVAILABILITY OF CERTIFICATES OF RELIEF TO CERTAIN OFFENDERS AND FOR EXPUNCTIONS OF FINDINGS OF NOT GUILTY OR NOT RESPONSIBLE.
House committee substitute makes the following changes to the 4th edition.
Amends the act's short and long titles.
Deletes all of the provisions of the previous edition and replaces them with the following.
Amends GS 15A-173.2 concerning certificates of relief, providing that a person convicted of criminal offenses no higher than a Class G felony can petition the court where they were convicted of the most serious offense for a certificate of relief, in order to relieve collateral consequences as provided in GS Chapter 15A, Article 6 (previously, a person seeking a certificate of relief in the court where convicted could not have been convicted of more than two Class G, H, or I felonies or misdemeanors in one session of court, with no other felony convictions or misdemeanors other than traffic violations). However, further provides that if the person has more than one conviction in the same class of offense as the most serious offense and the convictions are in multiple courts, then the person must petition the court of the most recent conviction. Amends subsection (b) concerning requirements to qualify for a certificate of relief, providing that a person must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has been convicted of five or fewer eligible offenses and that at least 12 months have passed since the completion of the sentence. However, if the person has been convicted of more than five eligible offenses, then 36 months must have passed since the person has completed the sentence (previously, only allowed the person to be convicted of no more than two Class G, H, or I felonies or misdemeanors in one court session, with a requirement that 12 months pass after sentence is completed). Enacts a new subsection (h) requiring those that file for a certificate of relief to pay a $50 fee to the clerk of superior court when the petition is filed. Provides this fee is deposited into the General Fund and is waived for petitions filed by indigents.
Enacts new GS 15A-146(a2) concerning subsequent expunctions of findings of not guilty or not responsible, allowing a person who has been granted an expunction previously pursuant to this statute, but is subsequently charged with a misdemeanor or felony, or an infraction under GS 18B-302(i) (Purchase, Possession, or Consumption of Alcohol by 19 or 20-Year Old) prior to December 1, 1999, and there was a finding of not guilty or not responsible, to apply to have the subsequent finding expunged. Requires the court to hold a hearing to determine that (1) a previous expunction was not received pursuant to GS 15A-145, GS 15A-145.1, GS 15A-145.2, GS 15A-145.3, GS 15A-145.4, or GS 15A-145.5, all sections providing for different types of expunctions and (2) the person has not previously been convicted of any felony under the laws of the United States, North Carolina, or any other state. If such is determined, then the court must expunge the finding of not guilty or not responsible.
Effective October 1, 2016, applying to petitions for expunction and certificates of relief filed on or after that date.
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