The chief local prosecutor starting next month is going to call for the judicial system to delete the records of those who as juveniles were convicted as adults of certain offenses.

District Attorney Robert Evans, in a news release issued via an assistant, said he intends to take the action as a result of a change in state law that took effect in June.

That change allows district attorneys to petition the courts to erase records of people convicted of misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses if they committed those offenses while they were 16 or 17 years old.

Evans in the news release said the purpose of this is to provide those individuals with a fresh start.

The state Administrative Office of the Courts already has identified all of those eligible for such clearance as a result of the change in the law — and those receiving such clearance will be notified via the postal system.

Evans is the district attorney for Edgecombe, Nash and Wilson counties.

John Rubin, a professor of public law and government at UNC-Chapel Hill, said in a blog post in July that the change, which is called the Second Chance Act, expands the opportunities of and streamlines the process for people trying to clear their records.

Specifically, Rubin said the Second Chance Act addresses unresolved differences resulting from the passage of state Raise the Age legislation that took effect at the start of December 2019.

What Raise the Age did was increase the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system for delinquency cases to include 16- and 17-year-olds who commit misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

As outlined by Rubin in his blog post, the unresolved differences resulting from Raise the Age had been in the treatment of juveniles charged with similar offenses after the start of December 2019 and whose cases remain shielded from public view in the juvenile justice system.

Rubin in the blog post made clear that as a result of the change in the law in June, a person can have his or her record erased if he or she meets the following requirements:

  • The offense occurred before Dec. 1, 2019.
  • The offense occurred when the person was less than 18 and at least 16.
  • Any active sentence, period of probation and post-release supervision ordered for the offense has to have been served.
  • There are no orders against the person to make restitution for the offense or any outstanding civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution for the offense.

Rubin in the blog post said that the victim in the case has the right to be heard on a petition, but that the clearance of the convicted person’s record is required if the petition satisfies the legal standards.

While the change in the law applies to convictions of certain offenses committed before the start of December 2019, Rubin made clear that there are exceptions.

For example, a person may not obtain clearance from convictions for impaired driving offenses or from a conviction of an offense that required registration with law enforcement as a sex offender.

State law since 2017 has allowed more chances for people convicted of certain non-violent offenses to have their records cleared by asking the courts to do so.

Generally, employers do background checks of potential hires and even if a potential hire is found to have had a case resulting in a dismissal or a finding of not guilty, the problem for the potential hire is that the charge still shows up in court records.

By successfully getting the courts to take the charge off the record, one conducting a background check cannot see the charge had ever been filed.