Automatic expunction of dismissed and not guilty charges lives to see another day.

This year’s legislative session brought a major challenge our way—Senate Bill 565 (SB 565), a bill to fix and restore the process for automated expunctions, was gutted and re-written at the end of May. The automated expunction process was a crucial part of the 2020 NC Second Chance Act, and SB 565 threatened the hard-won gains for people impacted by the criminal legal system.

We coordinated with partners across the state to advocate for automated expunctions, and our efforts paid off. On June 27, 2024, the Senate and House voted unanimously to pass the restored version of SB 565, improving and restarting automated expunction. Governor Cooper signed the bill, making it law, on July 8, 2024.

As we celebrate this victory for second chances, we ask that you please take a moment to thank your lawmakers and Governor Cooper for saving the Second Chance Act.

There are currently more than one million backlogged cases for dismissed and not guilty charges, and thousands more people will be eligible for relief under this new law. Having an automated expunction process in our state is important because it allows everyday people to access the expunction relief for which they are eligible, without having to figure out how to navigate the process on their own. This new law removes a significant barrier for many people who want to get back to work, obtain housing, pursue education opportunities, and move on with their lives.

This win took collective effort, and your calls, emails, and meetings with legislators helped make it all possible. Thank you!