Gov. Cooper signs criminal record expungement, ‘raise the age’ bills

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Advocates are celebrating what they’re calling a victory for justice after Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bipartisan bill into law that deals with criminal record expungement on Friday morning.

Justice activists estimate that Senate Bill 445 could impact two million people in the state.

North Carolina lawmakers ratified the bill nearly a month ago. Now that Cooper has signed it, North Carolina Second Chance Alliance and North Carolina Justice Center believe the law will give second chances to those who need it.

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According to SB445, if a person was charged and there was no conviction, or if a person is a first-time offender of a non-violent crime, then the law will give the individual easier access to get their criminal records expunged.

Justice advocates say the ability to do this will help North Carolinians who previously may have been denied jobs, housing and other opportunities because of a criminal record.

Lawmakers and advocates are also celebrating another victory — raising the minimum age of prosecution from 16 to 18 for non-violent offenses.

The law will go into effect Dec. 1.

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