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