Bill Summary for S 301 (2021)

Summary date: 

Jul 14 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 301 (Public) Filed Monday, March 15, 2021
AN ACT TO ALLOW FOR THE EXPUNCTION OF UP TO THREE NONVIOLENT FELONIES, TO EXPAND THE DEFINITION FOR THE TERM "NONVIOLENT FELONY," TO ALLOW THE PUBLIC DEFENDER OR PRIVATE COUNSEL TO FILE A PETITION FOR EXPUNCTION ON BEHALF OF A PERSON ELIGIBLE TO EXPUNGE CERTAIN OFFENSES COMMITTED UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN, AND TO ALLOW ACCESS TO EXPUNCTION RECORDS FOR DETERMINING CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE ELIGIBILITY.
Intro. by Britt, Daniel, Lee.

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Bill summary

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

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 15A-145.5, concerning the expunction of certain misdemeanors and felonies, as follows.

Further amends subsection (c), detailing qualification to petition under the statute. Now allows for a person to file a petition for expunction of two or three nonviolent felonies (was, only two nonviolent felonies) the later of 20 years after the date of the most recent conviction listed in the petition, or 20 years after any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision, related to a conviction listed in the petition, has been served. Makes organizational and clarifying changes to subsection (c). Further adds to subsection (c) that a person previously granted an expunction under the statute for one or more misdemeanors is not eligible for expunction of additional misdemeanors under the statute, and a person previously granted an expunction under the statute for one or more felonies is not eligible for expunction of additional felonies under the statute, except as provided in new subsections (c4) and (c5). Makes conforming changes throughout to reflect the ability to petition to expunge up to three felonies.

Adds to the required content of a petition, set forth in subsection (c1): (1) an affidavit by the petitioner providing information on any additional petitions submitted or that the petitioner intends to submit in other counties pursuant to new subsection (c4) seeking expunction of additional convictions; and (2) an acknowledgement by the petitioner that the expunction of one nonviolent misdemeanor prior to the seven-year waiting period or one nonviolent felony prior to the 20-year waiting period will preclude the petitioner from expunging additional nonviolent misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies that might otherwise be eligible under subsection (c), except as provided in new subsection (c5). 

Revises the required findings for a court to order expunction of one or more nonviolent misdemeanors pursuant to subsection (c2) to require finding either, among the other seven required findings, (1) that the petitioner has not previously been granted an expunction under the statute for one or more nonviolent misdemeanors, or (2) any previous expunction granted to the petitioner under the statute for one or more nonviolent misdemeanors was granted pursuant to a petition filed prior to December 31, 2021 (previously, required finding that the petitioner had not been granted an expunction under the statute prior to the date of any offense the current petition requests be expunged). 

Further amends the required findings for a court to order expunction of one or up to three nonviolent felonies pursuant to subsection (c3) to require finding either, among the other required findings, (1) that the petitioner has not previously been granted an expunction under the statute for one or more nonviolent felonies, or (2) any previous expunction granted to the petitioner under the statute for a felony was granted pursuant to a petition filed prior to December 31, 2021 (previously, required finding that the petitioner had not been granted an expunction under the statute prior to the date of any offense the current petition requests be expunged). Distinguishes required findings for petitions for the expunction of one felony and petitions for the expunction of two or three felonies, providing for the 10- and 20-year waiting periods applicable pursuant to subsection (c). Makes the required findings for petitions for the expunction of two or three felonies applicable for when the petitioner has filed petitions in more than one county pursuant to new subsection (c4), including that the felony offenses must have been committed within the same 24-month period. 

Enacts new subsection (c4) to require filing in each county where the convictions were obtained in more than one county for petitions for expunctions of more than one nonviolent misdemeanor under (c)(1)b. or two or three nonviolent felonies under (c)(2)b. Requires filing within a 30-day period and provides that the granting of one petition does not preclude the granting of any other petition filed within the same 30-day period. 

Enacts new subsection (c5) to allow a person granted an expunction under the statute for one or more nonviolent misdemeanors pursuant to a petition filed prior to December 1, 2021, to petition for expunction of additional nonviolent misdemeanors if the offenses were committed prior to the date of the previous expunction. Enacts a substantively identical provision allowing a person granted an expunction under the statute for a nonviolent felony pursuant to a petition filed prior to December 1, 2021, to petition for expunction of up to two additional nonviolent felonies if the offenses were committed prior to the date of the previous expunction and within the same 24-month period as the previously expunged felony. 

Amends GS 15A-151(a), adding a new subdivision allowing the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to disclose information in a confidential file for granted expungements under the Article for disclosure of records of previously dismissal pursuant to conditional discharge, upon joint request of the district attorney and the defendant in a pending proceeding for the purpose of determining eligibility for a conditional discharge. Requires delivery to the clerk of superior court where the matter is pending, who must then provide a copy to the district attorney and to the defendant. Requires the clerk to maintain the information as confidential record in the court file for the case.

Amends GS 15A-151.5 to require AOC to make all records of dismissals pursuant to conditional discharge maintained under GS 15A-151 electronically available to all prosecutors of the State. 

Makes technical changes to the act's effective date provisions. Changes the act's long title. 

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