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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for June, 2020

New Expunction Laws on the Horizon – Second Chance Act

Monday, June 15th, 2020

In December of 2017, the accessibility of the expunction process had been drastically improved by Senate Bill 445, and now we are looking at even more changes to become effective December 1, 2020 lifting previous requirements, and allowing for a second chance in even more scenarios.  Below are a few examples of the revisions to the expunctions laws applicable to offenses committed by persons age 18 or older:

  1. In addition to felonies and misdemeanors, infractions will be eligible for expunction from a person’s official records as long as the charges were dismissed or for which a finding of not guilty was entered.  Also, it will no longer be required that the person had not previously been convicted of a felony.
  2. Dismissals or findings of not guilty of felonies, misdemeanors, or infractions on or after December 1, 2021, will be expunged by operation of law, not requiring a petition.
  3. More than one conviction of non-violent misdemeanors can be expunged after a seven-year waiting period.

The team at Collins Law Firm has been handling scores of expunctions for over 20 years in New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.  If you are interested in having your record expunged, please give our office a call at (910) 793-9000 for a confidential consultation to discuss your eligibility.

PS.: On June 25, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 562.

By Jana H. Collins

100 Deadliest Days of Summer

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), beginning around the first week of June, the 100 deadliest days of summer has begun. This period of 100 days, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, got this nickname due to the high number of crash fatalities involving teen drivers, compared to the rest of the year. Now that restrictions are being slowly lifted across the State, it is especially important to understand road safety. Distracted driving, speeding, drinking and driving, and reckless driving are all contributors to serious accidents, and they are all preventable. A careless mistake such as distracted driving is all it takes to cause an automobile accident, and in the blink of an eye, the lives of those involved could be changed forever. 

Everybody could potentially become a personal injury victim, but the risk to sustain serious injuries is especially high for children and elder people.

Some accidents unfortunately even result in fatalities causing unimaginable heartbreak to those left behind. 

Sadly, tragic results of automobile accidents cannot be undone.  However, monetary compensation can help to recover damages.  Treatments for personal injuries resulting from an automobile accident can become very expense, and there may be lasting effects. Because of this, in North Carolina, as in most states, drivers of automobiles are required to have liability insurance, providing protection against claims resulting from injuries and damage to people and/or property. 

Even if the driver of the vehicle who caused an accident resulting in injuries had no insurance, you still may be able to recover under your own policy as long as you have uninsured coverage. The laws and regulations related to insurance are complex and if you are injured in an accident involving an automobile or tractor trailer, you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced attorney immediately.

We at Collins Law Firm regularly represent victims of car wrecks and help maximize monetary recoveries for our clients. If you or someone you know and care about has been injured in a car wreck, or if you have lost a loved one in an automobile accident, please call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a free consultation.

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

“Phase 2.5” – Reopening of North Carolina

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has announced a “Phase 2.5” of reopening our State set to be effective this Friday, June 12, 2020. This phase could increase restaurants’ maximum seating capacity, and open up bars and gyms with maximum capacity restrictions. This also means that some small business owners will be able to return back to work after all this time of uncertainty.

During these unprecedented times, the unemployment rate in the United States has risen to 13.3% as of the end of May – up from 3.6% in January 2020. As millions of Americans are without employment, they are scrambling to find work to make ends meet and pay their bills.

For those with a criminal record, finding a job can be difficult, and even more so during the times of a pandemic and our economic recovery. It is more important now than ever to have a clean background when searching for employment. Even if you were charged, and the charge was dismissed, the fact that you were charged will remain on your record unless you have it expunged.

An expunction, or expungement, is a legal action in which the petitioner or plaintiff seeks that the court destroys or seals prior criminal convictions from Federal or State official records. Until December 1, 2017, an individual could pursue an Expunction only once in their lifetime in the state of North Carolina. However, with the ratification of Senate Bill 445 on July 28, 2017, the accessibility of the expunction process has been drastically improved effective December 1, 2017. Unless an individual has a felony conviction on their record, there is no limit on how many charges that individual can get expunged off their record as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

The sooner you get the process started, the sooner your record will be clear, and the sooner you can apply for jobs with confidence. Your record will look more appealing to potential employers, and you will feel better knowing that your record is clear.

David Collins has been handling scores of expunctions for over 20 years in New Hanover County, Pender County, and Brunswick County.  If you are interested in having your record expunged, please give our office a call at (910) 793-9000 for a confidential consultation to discuss your eligibility. 

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

Teen Level 2 – Road Test Requirement May Be Waived Effective July 1, 2020

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, House Bill 1189 which was introduced on May 26, 2020, passed the 3rd Reading in the North Carolina House of Representatives.  It received 107 Ayes and only 13 Noes.  If approved by the Senate, the bill would receive the signature of Governor Roy Cooper, and then go into effect at the beginning on July 1, 2020.

Level 2 Teen Drivers would still have to provide proof of financial responsibility or proof of insurance by providing a Form DL123 to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), but “the Division of Motor Vehicles shall waive the requirement that an applicant pass a road test in order to obtain a limited provisional license if the applicant meets all other requirements for the limited provisional license.”

Once the NCDOT resumes regularly scheduled road tests again, or 180 days from the effective date of this bill, whichever comes first, the road test waiver will end.

By Jana H. Collins