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Relief from a Criminal Conviction (2020 Edition)

Adult Convictions for Misdemeanors and Class H and I Felonies Committed by Juveniles

G.S. 15A-145.8A authorizes expunction of an adult criminal conviction of misdemeanors and Class H and I felonies by a juvenile. (see Table 3). This type of expunction provides greater parity between juveniles who were convicted as adults before North Carolina’s “Raise the Age” legislation took effect and juveniles whose cases now fall under juvenile jurisdiction and do not result in a criminal conviction. See Jacqueline Greene, Expunction Relief for “Doughnut Hole” Youth, N.C. Crim. L., UNC Sch. of Gov’t Blog (Jun. 23, 2020). Enacted in 2020, in S.L. 2020-35 (S 562), the statute applies to offenses committed before December 1, 2019, when the Raise the Age legislation took effect.

The statute contains no limitations on the number of convictions that may be expunged, no disqualifiers based on other convictions or other expunctions, and no waiting period other than completion of the sentence. Because the statute applies to offenses committed before December 1, 2019, a person can obtain an expunction whether the conviction occurs before or after that date.

A petition for expunction may be filed by the convicted person or by the district attorney. The authorization for district attorney filing enables interested prosecutors to petition on behalf of all juveniles eligible for relief. The conditions for relief are the same as for petitions filed by individuals, but no filing fee is due for petitions by district attorneys.

Most expunction statutes do not require notice to the victim. G.S. 15A-145.8A(c) requires the district attorney’s office to make its best efforts to notify the victim of the expunction petition and gives the victim the right, on request, to be present and be heard at the hearing. Expunction is mandatory, however, if the petitioner meets the statutory conditions.

 

Table 3. Adult Convictions for Misdemeanors and Class H and I Felonies Committed by Juveniles

Matters Subject to Expunction

Principal Restrictions on Expunction

Applicable Statutes and Forms

  • Conviction of any misdemeanor and Class H and I felony except:
    • an offense under G.S. Ch. 20, including any offense involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a); and
    • an offense requiring sex offender registration, whether or not the person is currently required to register
  • Offense occurred when juvenile was age 16 or 17
  • Offense occurred before Dec. 1, 2019
  • Any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision ordered for the offense has been served
  • No outstanding restitution orders or judgments representing restitution for the offense