State Expands Rules For Erasing Criminal Records

North Carolina is expanding the opportunity for people to erase old criminal records that make it harder to get a job.

Lawmakers of both political parties agreed last year to broadly expand the opportunity for adults to erase first-time nonviolent misdemeanor crimes or low-level felony convictions. The General Assembly this year passed legislation barring an employer or school from asking an applicant to provide information about an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction that has been expunged.

More than 150 lawyers statewide are volunteering their services to prepare legal documents or collect sworn statements, including dozens from Duke Energy and white-collar law firm Parker Poe.

The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics says more than 1.5 million of North Carolina's 9.5 million residents had a criminal record in 2010.