Find us on Google+ Erasing a criminal past for Felons ~ Jobs for Felons: How felons can get jobs Erasing a criminal past for Felons | Jobs for Felons: How felons can get jobs Erasing a criminal past for Felons | Jobs for Felons: How felons can get jobs
  • Home
  • About Me
  • Ask Me A Question
  • Loading

Monday, July 9, 2018

Erasing a criminal past for Felons


Erasing a criminal past for Felons
From the-dispatch.com  -Sharon Myers  sharon.myers@the-dispatch.com. Follow Sharon on Twitter: @LexDispatchSM

When Gerald Hege filed in February to run for sheriff, the big question was, how can he do that?

After all, Hege had been forced to resign from the office in 2004 after pleading guilty to two felony counts of obstructing justice in a deal that allowed him to avoid 13 other charges connected to corruption in his time as sheriff. Then, after he ran for the office again in 2010, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment barring convicted felons from running for sheriff.

When Hege walked into the county Board of Elections office in February, though, he had no criminal record. It had been erased or, to use the term most often heard, expunged.

In December, a new state law went into effect that reduced from 15 to 10 years the time people convicted of non-violent felonies must wait to seek to have those crimes expunged, or wiped from their records. And Hege wasted no time taking advantage of it.

“I think the governor said it best. We’ve got talented people who are skilled at a lot of different things — law enforcement, doctors, lawyers, whatever — who have been convicted. He felt like these people’s experience should be put to use, and that’s why he reduced the waiting time from 15 years to 10 years,” Hege said in an interview with The Dispatch after he filed to run for sheriff.

Hege lost his bid to regain his old office, coming in third among four candidates in the GOP primary. But his run raised questions and interest about the process of criminal record expungement.

What is expungement?


A person’s criminal record includes records of traffic offenses, criminal charges, arrests, dismissals, indictments, convictions and appeals. The official records are kept by the state court system and are considered public record.

Expungement, or expunction, is the legal process of removing a criminal record. To have a felony or misdemeanor record removed, a petition must be filed at the clerk of court’s office in the county where the person was convicted. The petition is reviewed by a local judge, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the State Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement agencies.

Many criminal offenses cannot be expunged. Only non-violent misdemeanor or felony offenses which were tried in the same court session are eligible.

An individual who was charged but not convicted or found not guilty of a misdemeanor or felony offense can have a record expunged multiple times unless that person has a felony conviction.

A person who has been granted an expungement may be disqualified from getting another in North Carolina.

Doing the time for the crime

Dr. Brian Long is the regional former offender specialist for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. He recently held a clinic at NC Works Career Center in Davidson County for people who were looking have their records expunged.


He began by describing how he went from robbing banks at gunpoint and spending four years in prison to getting a chance to turn his life around and help other ex-felons.

Long said after serving almost four years in prison, he was given a second chance by the judicial system and didn’t want to waste it. He has earned his doctorate degree and has been working with ex-offenders for the state of North Carolina for 13 years on record expungement and other programs to assist felons.

“I took that opportunity to better myself,” Long said. “I struggled when I first came home. Matter of fact, I wanted to give up. People discriminated against me because I looked young and because of my charges. I was always telling them, I am not that same person I was when I was 17. I had to go back to school and work my butt off to prove myself.”

Long has five charges of felony armed robbery from when he was 17 years old, and since it was a violent felony, those charges will permanently remain on his record.

He said although he cannot have his record expunged because his crimes involved a gun, he feels the expungement process is a valuable resource, especially for those looking for a job or getting housing.

“The reason why we do these clinics is to inform the community of what’s available to them,” Long said. “A lot of times, individuals have a criminal record which keeps them from moving forward. We try to inform them about what obstacles they may have to go through or whether they qualify or not. … I have helped people by putting a plan together and helping them get back on track.”

Jessie Taylor of Lexington said he attended the expungement clinic at Davidson County NC Works because he knew that he has issues that might hinder his opportunities in the future.


“I knew I have a criminal record, so I went and checked it out,” Taylor said. “I was impressed with what (Long) was saying, I found it so informative.”

He said although he discovered that he cannot have his record cleared, he still received valuable information and inspiration. Taylor was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a violent felony, 18 years ago.

He said that he received inspiration from Long’s story because it closely mirrored his own.

“He surprised me when he told me that we may have come in on different boats, but we are on the same ship,” Taylor said. “I made a bad mistake; I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and a weapon was involved. I can’t change that, but I am going to try to work to prove I am worthy of a second chance.”

Pam Walton, director of NC Works in Davidson County, said the agency held the clinic to give people information that could assist them in their search for a employment.

“North Carolina is a right-to-hire state,” Walton said. “If you have two candidates that have equal experience and are the same in every other way, if you have a blemish on your record, it can hurt your ability to be hired. … If you are an employer that has sensitivity issues, it could be a liability if they hire someone knowing they had charges against them.”

Not all are fans


Long said the expungement process is a way to let people correct the mistakes they have made in the past and to prove they are worthy to be considered for employment, housing and other opportunities.

While some people believe that the expungement process is a helpful process, others are wary that it may create issues in the long run.

Davidson County District Attorney Garry Frank said that he feels the expungement process can sometimes hinder the work of the courts.

“The state legislation has liberalized the expungement laws,” Frank said. “At no time during my tenure as district attorney have people had more opportunities to get their records expunged. There is no paint-by-numbers answer; for some people it might be a good thing, but for other situations it lets them out of being responsible for their crimes.”

Frank said the court system tries to take all factors into consideration before charging someone with a felony, so when they are charged it is for a reason.

“Usually folks are given two or three bites at the apple before they are charged with a felony,” Frank said. “We try to take into account when evaluating cases, especially when it comes to younger kids, whether it is a crime of omission versus commission. That means whether someone went into something with bad intent or whether it was a case of they got mixed up in the wrong situation.”

Frank said he has no issue with people wanting to correct the mistakes of their past and better themselves. He said he is concerned about how the expungement law is used.


“We want people to be able to rehabilitate themselves, to get jobs and to be able to support their families,” Frank said. “We want to trust and invest into people. Sometimes the outcome is great; sometimes they do something that makes you wish you didn’t give them that second chance. For us, we try to give them that chance not to be a felon in the first place.”

What if you aren’t eligible?

Long said there are many variables when it comes to expungement laws and there are many who will not be eligible for one reason or another.

He said he encourages ex-offenders, even those with violent felony charges, to commit to being a better person and then to let their work experience speak for itself. He said a person may have to start with mopping the floors at a fast food restaurant but after proving they are trustworthy, opportunities will open.

Taylor currently has a job and said he wants his work ethic and positive attitude to outshine his past. He said the best way to make sure you don’t have to be affected by a criminal record is not get into a bad situation in the first place.

“Don’t make the dumb mistakes I have made,” Taylor said. “Stay in school, be a nice person and try to be something. If you don’t start something, you won’t have to deal with your past.”

Walton said she wants to hold more clinics in the future because many people are interested in improving themselves and putting the past behind them.


“A lot of people think that because of their background these people are lazy or good for nothing, but there is a great many that are interested in working and improving their condition,” Walton said.

Long said he feels it is his duty to help people, like himself, who made mistakes in the past but are honest about their issues and are committed to improving their situations.

“It may take a struggle and it may take time, but if you invest in yourself, things will change,” Long said. “Realistically some people’s criminal background will be a limitation because you are not just going against the system; you are going against people’s mindset. But if you know what you are up against, you can have a plan of action in place and you can succeed.”

For more information about future expungement and ex-offender clinics, contact NC Works of Davidson County at (336) 242-2065 or (336) 472-3116, or Legal Aid of North Carolina at (866) 219-5262.





Expungement for Felons - A Way to Erase Your Criminal Record



Criminal Records: Do you qualify for expungement?



Erasing a criminal past for Felons

Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons (2018)




companies hire felons | companies that hire felons | Companies that hire ex-offenders | Employers that hire ex-offenders | employers that hire felons | Jobs for felons | jobs for ex-offenders | jobs that hire felons | places that hire felons | felon friendly jobs | felon friendly employers | how to get a job with criminal record | second chance jobs for felons | temp agencies that hire felons | high paying jobs for felons | expungement for felons | felon expungement

Eric Mayo

 
HyperSmash.com | Now you can have a Masters in Criminal Justice
| SUBSCRIBE WITE ZENCAST | The Online Self Improvement and Self Help Encyclopedia | Top Job Sites | Active Search Results | | Business Directory for Newark, New Jersey
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...