This blog discusses the certificate of relief in North Carolina, which may provide some relief for individuals with certain convictions. A certificate of relief is not an expunction. When someone has a criminal conviction, it tends to hinder them in many aspects of their lives. This can include exclusion from getting certain jobs, exclusion from renting certain apartments, and many other limitations. In these situations, the best thing to do is get an expunction to clear up your criminal record but that is not always available for a variety of reasons.
There is another option for people that may be helpful in these situations and that option is, getting a certificate of relief. In this blog, we will discuss what a certificate of relief is and how it can help. Like all our blogs, this is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
Collateral consequences of criminal convictions
We have spoken about the collateral consequences of criminal convictions in a blog that you can read here. When someone is faced with criminal charges, they often worry about what their fines will be, how much time they will serve and how long they will be on probation, but in actuality, what comes afterwards is sometimes a much larger concern. There can be lasting consequences for years to come and a certificate of relief can help with some of that.
What is a certificate of relief?
A certificate of relief is a court document signed by a judge that acts to relieve certain sanctions against a convicted person, and also protects a renter or an employer from claims of negligent hiring or negligent renting.
Individuals can obtain a certificate of relief as a way to show that they have taken some positive steps towards moving forward from past criminal convictions. The law regarding certificates of relief is covered under North Carolina General statute 15A-173.2.
Processes and requirements for getting a certificate of relief
Not everyone can get a certificate of relief for a prior conviction, and there are many aspects to the certificate that must be considered. Some of characteristics and restrictions are including but not limited to the following:
- A person with a criminal conviction can petition the court only after at least 12 months have past since that person has completed their sentence
- The certificate does not have the effect of deleting someone’s criminal record
- An employer of a certificate holder is shielded from negligent hiring liability
- Landlords and other decision makers are also shielded from negligence liability
- Only misdemeanor convictions and class H through I felonies are eligible for a certificate of relief
- There can be no pending criminal charges at the time the certificate of relief is being requested by the court
Criminal law can be extremely complicated an often requires professional help. If you are in need of a criminal defense attorney in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us.