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North Carolina Expungements Have Tripled Since 2000

More and more North Carolina residents are being given a second chance at a clean criminal record, according to North Carolina records. In the past 10 years, more than 76,000 expungements have been granted in North Carolina.

According to the reports, new changes in the qualification rules for an expungement have increased the chances of an expungement. In North Carolina, people whose criminal charges, such as drug charges or minor in possession charges, are dismissed or acquitted are automatically eligible for an expungement.

Other eligibility categories include anyone under 18-years-old charged with a misdemeanor and anyone up to 20-years-old convicted of an alcohol related offense. Non-violent felony offenders under 18-years-old are also eligible under a new law signed earlier in June.

The broad categories, particularly for young people, acknowledge that people make mistakes. North Carolina laws allow those who have made mistakes to clear their record so as not to suffer from the mark on the criminal record indefinitely.

One reason for the dramatic rise in the North Carolina expungement rate is likely due to the poor economy. With limited jobs available, employers often turn to criminal records to make a decision about a potential candidate. If the applicant has a criminal conviction or a criminal charge on his or her record, the employer may reject the candidate. The effect of a criminal charge on employment, in part, has also led to the increase in North Carolina expungements.

Source: Raleigh News & Observer "More Getting a Clean Slate," Mandy Locke and David Raynor, 6/26/2011

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