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Collins Law Firm :: Blog

Archive for March, 2021

Further Easing of COVID Restrictions

Thursday, March 25th, 2021

With the recent data for COVID, which includes a continuous decrease in the number of positive tests as well as a constant rate of vaccine distribution, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced this week in the new Executive Order 204 that there will be further easement of COVID restrictions, effective tomorrow, March 26, 2021.

Changes that will be effective tomorrow, 3-26-2021, include the following:

  1. The 11:00 p.m. curfew for alcohol sales and consumption at bars and restaurants will be lifted;
  2. Museums, aquariums, retail businesses, salons and other personal care shops will be able to have capacity at up to 100% indoors and outdoors, as long as they have the required safety protocols in place;
  3. Restaurants, breweries, amusement parks, gyms, pools, and other recreation establishments will be able to have capacity of up to 75% indoors and up to 100% outdoors; and
  4. Bars, movie theaters, conference centers, sports arenas, and other venues for live performances can have capacity of up to 50% indoors and outdoors and are subject to masks and 6-feet social distancing.

The mask mandate and social distancing protocols will continue to stay in place across the State.

With respect to students attending in-person classes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently changed its guidelines, stating that students can safely sit three feet apart instead of six feet. Masks and frequent handwashing are still required.

Locally, as of April 12, 2021, New Hanover County students in grades 6-12 will have the option to either attend in-person classes 5 days per week, or they can choose to stay fully virtual.

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

Spring Forward 2021

Friday, March 12th, 2021

It’s that time of year again, folks! Time to push those clocks forward one hour this Sunday, March 14, so we will “lose” an hour of sleep this weekend. The first day of Spring, which is also known as the Vernal Equinox, is Saturday, March 20, 2021.

As we continue to remember and look back on the past year of the pandemic – from quarantining, social distancing, losing loved ones, and lives being turned upside down in every possible way – we can also appreciate the little things that make us smile, including a few days of warmer weather and sunshine.

The increasing number of North Carolinians receiving the COVID vaccine has also seemed to put a glimmer of hope into our hearts that we might – one day soon – be able to gather in a group with friends to enjoy the summer weather.

As the weather continues to warm up and COVID restrictions are becoming slightly more lenient, there is a higher possibility of finding yourself in need of an attorney, because you received a traffic ticket, or face even more serious charges such as driving while impaired (DWI / DUI), underage drinking, possession of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia, possession of open container, etc.  There is also an increased risk of getting injured while traveling by car, or while boating. 

Should you find yourself in need of an attorney for a serious personal injury or wrongful death matter, or should you need representation for a criminal charge, or a traffic ticket, please give our office a call for a confidential consultation.

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal

Second Chance Act, Part II – North Carolina

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

In Part I, we discussed the Second Chance Act, and how it will affect charges that are dismissed without leave, dismissed by the court, acquitted, found not guilty, or not responsible on or after December 1, 2021. This blog, Part II, will discuss some of the other changes to expungement laws in North Carolina.

According to N.C.G.S.§ 15A-146(a4), an automatic expunction will not be required by law for a case with a felony charge that was dismissed pursuant to a plea agreement – individuals in this scenario must petition for an expunction, as it was the case under the previous statute.

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 (c), the petition for expunction shall not be filed earlier than one of the following:

 (1) For expunction of one nonviolent misdemeanor, five years after the date of the conviction or when any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later.

(2) For expunction of more than one nonviolent misdemeanor, seven years after the date of the person’s last conviction, other than a traffic offense not listed in the petition for expunction, or seven years after any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later.

(3) For expunction of one nonviolent felony, 10 years after the date of the conviction or 10 years after any active sentence, period of probation, or post-release supervision has been served, whichever occurs later.

If an individual has been previously granted an expunction for a nonviolent felony or nonviolent misdemeanor, then they are not eligible for an expunction under the new law.

Pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 15A-145.5 (a), the term “nonviolent misdemeanor” or “nonviolent felony” means any misdemeanor or felony except the following:

(1) A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor.

(2) An offense that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.

(3) An offense requiring registration pursuant to Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, whether or not the person is currently required to register.

(4) Any of the following sex-related or stalking offenses: G.S. 14-27.25(b), 14-27.30(b), 14-190.7, 14-190.8, 14-190.9, 14-202, 14-208.11A, 14-208.18, 14-277.3, 14-277.3A, 14-321.1.

(5) Any felony offense in Chapter 90 of the General Statutes where the offense involves methamphetamines, heroin, or possession with intent to sell or deliver or sell and deliver


(6) An offense under G.S. 14-12.12(b), 14-12.13, or 14-12.14, or any offense for which punishment was determined pursuant to G.S. 14-3(c).

(7) An offense under G.S. 14-401.16.

(7a) An offense under G.S. 14-54(a), 14-54(a1), or 14-56.

(8) Any felony offense in which a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the offense.

(8a) An offense involving impaired driving as defined in G.S. 20-4.01(24a).

(9) Any offense that is an attempt to commit an offense described in subdivisions (1) through (8a) of this subsection.

If you or a loved one has a criminal record in New Hanover (including Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach), Pender (including Hampstead and Burgaw), or Brunswick County (including Bolivia, Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, Shallotte, Leland, and Southport), and are interested in having your record expunged, please give us a call for a confidential consultation. Mr. Collins has been successfully handling expunctions for over 20 years.

By Karen M. Thompson, Paralegal