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North Carolina Amends Certificate of Relief Law

By Michael Klazema on 7/26/2018

On June 25, 2018, Governor Roy Cooper signed House Bill 774, which expands Certificate of Relief. The North Carolina Certificate of Relief Law, which was enacted in 2011, offers relief from the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction (i.e. penalty, disability, or disqualification).  An employer may take into consideration a certificate of relief despite the applicant’s criminal past; however, the certificate is not an expungement or pardon.

Beginning on December 1, 2018, people convicted of “no more than three Class H or I felonies and any misdemeanors” may petition the court for a Certificate of Relief.” In addition, if a person “is convicted of more than one Class H or I felony in the same session of court, then the multiple felony convictions shall be treated as one felony conviction.”

In addition, the law protects employers from liability from most employment-related negligence claims when hiring or retaining a person with a certificate of relief, but only if the employer “relied on” the Certificate of Relief “at the time of the alleged negligence.”

What This Means to You

  • This update applies to all employers in North Carolina.
  • The Certificate of Relief will be available to people convicted of no more than three Class H or I felonies and misdemeanors.
  • Employers are immune from liability from negligent hiring if the employer “relied on” the Certificate of Relief at the time of the alleged negligence.

House Bill 774 is available here: 
https://legiscan.com/NC/text/H774/2017


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