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North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently signed House Bill 774, which provides judges with discretion for reducing civil barriers to employment, housing, and other essential opportunities impacting individuals with criminal records. The new law, when it goes into effect on Dec. 1, 2018, would expand certificate of relief eligibility to individuals with up to three incidents of low-level Class H and I felony convictions and an unlimited number of misdemeanor convictions. The court may grant a certificate of relief only if all of the following criteria are met: 12 months have passed since the completion of the petitioners sentence; the petitioner is seeking, or seeking to engage in, a lawful occupation; he or she has complied with all requirements of his or her sentence; a criminal charge is not pending; and the issuing certificate would not pose a risk to the safety or welfare of the public or of any individual.

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