The Second Chance Law

On June 25, 2020, Governor Cooper signed into law the Second Chance bill which simplifies the procedure for getting an expunction. The law modifies the following expunction protocols: (1) when the petitioner is between 16-18 years of age, (2) cases where there was a dismissal or a finding of Not Guilty, and (3) cases involving a non-violent misdemeanor or felony conviction.

Expunction for persons between the ages of 16-18 (15A-145.8)
– any misdemeanor of Class H/I felony

– unless it is a DWI or any offense requiring sex registration

– The petition can be filed once probation has been completed and all fines/restitution paid.

– The defendant or the DA can file the petition. If the defendant files the petition, there is a $175 filing fee unless indigent and service to the DA.

-The petition is a specific form from the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) website.

Expunction of Dismissed charges or findings of Not Guilty (15A-146)
-any misdemeanor, felony, or the purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by a 19 or 20-year old infraction.

-is applicable to multiple charges only some of which were dismissed; those dismissed charges can be expunged.

– the petition is an AOC form but there is no filing fee. There is no hearing before the court.

[After 12/1/21, these expunctions will occur automatically for dismissed/Not Guilty/Not Responsible charges]

Expunction of a nonviolent misdemeanor and felony convictions (15A-145.5)
-Can’t be an excluded offense:

a) Class A-G felony of A1 misdemeanor

b) No assault offenses

c) No charge requiring sex registration

d) No sex-related or stalking offense

e) No felony involving sales or intent to sell meth, heroin or cocaine

f) hate crimes

g) utilization of date-rape drugs

h) Breaking and Entering a dwelling house

i) A felony with the use of a commercial motor vehicle

j) An impaired driving offense

k) Any attempt of the above-listed offenses.

– When can the petition be filed?:

For a single misdemeanor, it is 5 years after probation has ended.

For multiple misdemeanors, it is seven years after the date of the petitioner’s last probationary period.

For a single felony, the petition can be filed ten years after probation has ended.

-Expunctions for convictions require that:

a) No expunctions were granted under this section prior to the date of the offense which is the subject of the petition,

b) The petitioner and two non-family members must submit affidavits that the petitioner is of good moral character,

c) The petitioner must affirm that there have been no additional convictions and all restitution orders have been paid and

d) A hearing is held and the victim and the probation officer may testify.

If you have a case to be expunged and the petitions are too intimidating, many counties (Durham:, Orange: and Wake: and Legal Aid ( have programs to provide assistance free of charge.