The North Carolina General Assembly Ratified and Governor Pat McCrory signed New North Carolina Expunction of Records Law “Senate Bill 233”
- Effective Date December 1, 2015
- Applies to Offenses Filed on or after December 1, 2015
- Entitled: An Act to Provide for the Automatic Expunction of Certain Records
- Charges Dismissed or Not Guilty – Theft or Mistaken Identity
- Infraction or Crime, “Either Misdemeanor or Felony”
Expunction or “Expungement” of Records can have long-lasting, positive consequences – Bill Powers
The Court Shall also Order Expunge:
- Records of the Court
- Records of All Law Enforcement Agencies
- Records of the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety
- Records of the Division of Motor Vehicles
- Records of “Any other State or local governmental agencies identified by the Petitioner. . .”
Given the ever-present existence of Identity Theft, this was a much needed law in North Carolina – Bill Powers
Modified Transcription of “New North Carolina Expunction of Records Law” for the Hearing Impaired:
Governor McCrory: I apologize for being a little bit late. We’re doing a little legislative work on the side. I’d like to thank my fellow Senators who are here today, Floyd McKissick, Stan Bingham and Warren Daniel. You all need to give them a round of applause. They’re working awful hard. More than anything else, I’d like to thank Charles Belk and his family. This guy is someone who through an incident that shouldn’t have happened, but did happen, is trying to do everything he can to make sure it doesn’t happen again because people don’t deserve to go through what Mr. Belk went through and his family goes through.
This is not just him, but it’s his entire family goes through this and let me tell you that story briefly. Almost one year ago, on August 22, 2014, Charles Belk was walking to his car in Beverly Hills, California, pretty nice place, to add money to his parking meter and those parking meters are probably expensive. A nearby bank had just been robbed and Charles Belk was mistakenly identified as the suspect because he fit the description. He was then handcuffed, transported to the police station, booked, denied a phone call, denied being told the charges he is being booked on, denied immediate access to an attorney and jailed for six hours for armed bank robbery and accessory to armed robbery and held under $100,000 bond.
Can you imagine that happening to any of us? Your life is changed in an instant and your reputation is changed in an instant. Although he was released later that night and given a detention certificate, which indicated he was detained and not arrested, an arrest record appeared on the Sheriff’s website and a state legal process had to be followed to get the arrest record sealed and destroyed. This is totally unacceptable. Senate Bill 223 today, which these Senators and many others help pass along with several House members. I’m proud to be the first Governor in the country to address this very serious issue and sign Senate Bill 233.
Let me tell you what this Bill will do. It will provide for the automatic expunction of certain records of a person when the charge or charges against the person are dismissed as a result of identity theft or mistaken identity. Identity theft is occurring an awful lot nowadays. It’s happened in my family. Mistaken identity is also happening a lot. Good intentions gone bad. The people who are misidentified shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of their life, much less for the several hours that you had to spend in jail and I can’t imagine what your family was thinking at that point in time and friends.
Under current law, North Carolina will expunge certain offenses from a person’s criminal record in cases of identity theft. Under this process, a Petition for Expunction is made to the Court where charges were last pending. The Order seeks to expunge all apprehension charges on trial records. This Bill now goes a step further and includes mistaken identity. This applies when a mistake has been made in identifying who committed the crime or when a witness or law enforcement officer has been given misinformation and that often happens on the person who committed the crime. In cases of identity theft or mistaken identity, if the conviction is set aside or the person is found not guilty, there is an automatic process for expunction of all court records, law enforcement records, DMV and adult correction records.
This law builds upon that and helps us make sure that we are defending the rights of those like Charles Belk, who we are proud is a North Carolina native. This law goes into effect December 1, 2015, and I’m proud to sign it into law and hope other governors around the country will follow this lead. Again, I’d like to thank everyone. Can you imagine how many people this has happened to? Not only do you have short-term pain, but that reputation stains you for a lifetime and then for someone like Mr. Belk to be able to get a job, because no one will believe the story. Sure. I can’t imagine that happening to you.
I even see that in politics a few times, once you’re accused of something politically. You know, it’s harder to defend yourself than it is to take the offensive. It’s very hard to defend yourself and say, “I am innocent.” Usually the way you get off is someone else telling you you are innocent. I’m just proud to sign this Bill and I proud of the leadership that we have behind me to make this happen. This is an historic time for North Carolina and we’re leading the way and I’d like to thank all members of the Belk family and all his friends for making this happen, too. I think you deserve the first pen. Senator, thank you very much.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Absolutely.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Speaker 1: Senator, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you for your leadership. Senator, thank you very much. You all need to give these gentlemen a round of applause. Did you want to say anything? I’d like to have Mr. Belk say something.
Speaker 3: Absolutely. Thank you, sir. I would have never thought a year ago when I was handcuffed on the curb that I would find myself here today and I’ve been getting emotional lately and I don’t know why, so I apologies in advance. Governor, thank you so much. It’s been through definitely the grace of God that has helped me through this moment. My friends and family and added since, too, my social media family because without my social media family, they encouraged me to keep it going. I just recently told this morning my assistant principal from high school, who I refer to affectionately as [inaudible 00:06:51], my mother, Johnny Belk, and all my aunties that are in this room because it truly takes a village to raise a person.
It is definitely a pleasure that I’m here with you, I’m here with the Senators. Senator McKissick, who I met, been knowing for years, but I saw him last year, mentioned this Bill to him or mentioned this activity to him, he right away said, “Absolutely I’ll do something for you about that.” To see it this day come to this point and not just for me, but for all of the folks in this state and in this country eventually that are being affected by such activities to now be affected positively by this law. It’s just incredible and wonderful. Thank you so much, Governor.
Speaker 1: You’re a hero, man. Appreciate it.
Speaker 3: Thank you so much.
Speaker 1: I’d like to recognize Thomas Stith also, Chief of Staff. Another Durham guy. I’m honored. Senator, thank you for your leadership.
Speaker 4: Thank you, Governor. I really appreciate it.
Speaker 1: Thank you and God bless everyone of you.