Relief from a Criminal Conviction (2020 Edition)

Discharge and Dismissal of Threats of Mass Violence

Effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2018, G.S. 15A-145.7 authorizes expunction of a discharge and dismissal of offenses involving false reports of mass violence in violation of G.S. 14-277.5 and threats of mass violence at schools and places of worship in violation of new G.S. 14-277.6 and G.S. 14-277.7 (see Table 23). This type of expunction was added as part of S.L. 2018-72 (H 670), which created the offenses in G.S. 14-277.6 and G.S. 14-277.7. The requirements for a discharge and dismissal, which is a precondition for an expunction, are contained in new G.S. 14-277.8. (A person also may be eligible for a discharge and dismissal of these offenses under the general discharge and dismissal statute, G.S. 15A-1341(a4), and for an expunction of either type of discharge and dismissal under the general dismissal expunction statute, G.S. 15A-146. For a discussion of the impact of a discharge and dismissal and its eligibility for expunction, see supra Expunctions of Dismissals and Similar Dispositions: Types of Dismissals.)

Subsection (a) of G.S. 14-277.8 states that the court “shall” defer the proceedings pursuant to the discharge and dismissal procedures if the defendant is eligible and the defendant and prosecutor consent. Subsection (b) of G.S. 14-277.8 identifies the conditions the court must impose if, “in its discretion,” the court defers the proceedings. The different terminology makes it unclear whether the procedure is mandatory or discretionary.

Although G.S. 15A-145.7 does not make a prior expunction a bar to either a discharge or dismissal or expunction, the statute requires a prior expunction check. The AOC form therefore includes that step.

G.S. 15A-145.7(a) requires an affidavit by the petitioner that he or she “has been of good behavior during the period of probation since the decision to defer further proceedings on the offense in question and has not been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic violation.” The italicized provision could be read as a free-standing requirement that the person be conviction-free (other than for a traffic violation). An alternative interpretation is that the language should be read in conjunction with the good behavior condition—that is, the person must be of good behavior and conviction-free since the decision to defer. Cf. 2A Norman J. Singer & J.D. Shambie Singer, Sutherland Statutes and Statutory Construction § 47:26 (7th ed., Nov. 2020) (observing that where a sentence contains several antecedents and several consequents, courts apply the words to the subjects to which, by context, they seem most properly to relate).

As in many of the expunction statutes, G.S. 15A-145.7 treats traffic violations differently than other criminal convictions. Under G.S. 15A-145.7, a conviction of a traffic violation is not a bar to an expunction of a discharge or dismissal of the covered offenses. This guide takes the position that the term “traffic violation,” as used in the expunction statutes, means any misdemeanor conviction under Chapter 20 of the General Statutes unless otherwise specified. The meaning of traffic violation, including impaired driving, is discussed further in Appendixes: Frequently Asked Questions (Traffic Violations and Driving While Impaired (DWI)).


Table 23. Discharge and Dismissal of Threats of Mass Violence

Matters Subject to Expunction

Principal Restrictions on Expunction

Applicable Statutes and Forms

  • Discharge and dismissal of:
    • false report of mass violence in violation of G.S. 14-277.5;
    • threat of mass violence at school in violation of G.S. 14-277.6; and
    • threat of mass violence at place of worship in violation of G.S. 14-277.7
  • Person must obtain discharge and dismissal, the requirements of which include
    • offense occurred before person turned 20;
    • no prior conviction of felony or misdemeanor other than traffic violation;
    • no prior discharge and dismissal under G.S. 14-277.8; and
    • fulfillment of terms of probation
  • Person must meet requirements for expunction, including
    • petition may not be filed until completion of discharge and dismissal, for which G.S. 14-277.8 sets a minimum period of probation of 12 months; and
    • good behavior during period of probation and no conviction of felony or misdemeanor other than traffic violation