(a) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Prostitution offense. - A conviction for (i) violation of G.S. 14-204 or (ii) engaging in prostitution in violation of G.S. 14-204(7) for an offense that occurred prior to October 1, 2013.
(2) Violent felony or violent misdemeanor. - A Class A through G felony or a Class A1 misdemeanor that includes assault as an essential element of the offense.
(b) A person who has been convicted of a prostitution offense may file a petition in the court where the person was convicted for expunction of the prostitution offense from the person's criminal record provided that all the following criteria are met:
(1) The person has not previously been convicted of any violent felony or violent misdemeanor under the laws of the United States or the laws of this State or any other state.
(2) The person satisfies any one of the following criteria:
a. The person's participation in the prostitution offense was a result of having been a trafficking victim under G.S. 14-43.11 (human trafficking) or G.S. 14-43.13 (sexual servitude) or a victim of a severe form of trafficking under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (22 U.S.C. 7102(13)).
b. The person has no prior convictions for a prostitution offense and at least three years have passed since the date of conviction or the completion of any active sentence, period of probation, and post-release supervision, whichever occurs later.
c. The person received a conditional discharge pursuant to G.S. 14-204(b).
(c) The petition shall contain all of the following:
(1) An affidavit by the petitioner that the petitioner (i) has no prior conviction of a violent felony or violent misdemeanor, (ii) has been of good moral character since the date of conviction of the prostitution offense in question, and (iii) has not been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor under the laws of the United States or the laws of this State or any other state since the date of the conviction of the prostitution offense in question.
(2) Verified affidavits of two persons, who are not related to the petitioner or to each other by blood or marriage, that they know the character and reputation of the petitioner in the community in which the petitioner lives and that the petitioner's character and reputation are good.
(3) A statement that the petition is a motion in the cause in the case wherein the petitioner was convicted.
(4) An application on a form approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts requesting and authorizing (i) a State and national criminal history record check by the Department of Justice using any information required by the Administrative Office of the Courts to identify the individual; (ii) a search by the Department of Justice for any outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases; and (iii) a search of the confidential record of expunctions maintained by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The application shall be forwarded to the Department of Justice and to the Administrative Office of the Courts, which shall conduct the searches and report their findings to the court.
(5) An affidavit by the petitioner that no restitution orders or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution entered against the petitioner are outstanding.
(d) The petition shall be served upon the district attorney of the court wherein the case was tried resulting in conviction. The district attorney shall have 30 days thereafter in which to file any objection thereto and shall be duly notified as to the date of the hearing of the petition.
(e) The court in which the petition was filed shall take the following steps and shall consider the following issues in rendering a decision upon a petition for expunction of records of a prostitution offense under this section:
(1) Call upon a probation officer for additional investigation or verification of the petitioner's conduct during the period since the date of conviction of the prostitution offense in question.
(2) Review any other information the court deems relevant, including, but not limited to, affidavits or other testimony provided by law enforcement officers and district attorneys.
(f) The court shall order that the person be restored, in the contemplation of the law, to the status the person occupied before the arrest or indictment or information if the court finds all of the following after a hearing:
(1) The criteria set out in subsection (b) of this section are satisfied.
(2) The petitioner has remained of good moral character and has been free of conviction of any felony or misdemeanor, other than a traffic violation, since the date of conviction of the prostitution offense in question.
(3) The petitioner has no outstanding warrants or pending criminal cases.
(4) The petitioner has no outstanding restitution orders or civil judgments representing amounts ordered for restitution entered against the petitioner.
(5) The search of the confidential records of expunctions conducted by the Administrative Office of the Courts shows that the petitioner has not been previously granted an expunction, other than an expunction for a prostitution offense.
(g) No person as to whom an order has been entered pursuant to subsection (f) of this section shall be held thereafter under any provision of any laws to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of that person's failure to recite or acknowledge the arrest, indictment, information, trial, or conviction. Persons pursuing certification under the provisions of Chapter 17C or 17E of the General Statutes, however, shall disclose any and all prostitution convictions to the certifying Commission regardless of whether or not the prostitution convictions were expunged pursuant to the provisions of this section.
Persons required by State law to obtain a criminal history record check on a prospective employee shall not be deemed to have knowledge of any convictions expunged under this section.
(h) The court shall also order that the conviction of the prostitution offense be expunged from the records of the court and direct all law enforcement agencies bearing record of the same to expunge their records of the conviction. The clerk shall notify State and local agencies of the court's order as provided in G.S. 15A-150.
(i) Any other applicable State or local government agency shall expunge from its records entries made as a result of the conviction ordered expunged under this section. The agency shall also reverse any administrative actions taken against a person whose record is expunged under this section as a result of the charges or convictions expunged. This subsection shall not apply to the Department of Justice for DNA records and samples stored in the State DNA Database and the State DNA Databank.
(j) Any person eligible for expunction of a criminal record under this section shall be notified about the provisions of this section by the probation officer assigned to that person. If no probation officer is assigned, notification of the provisions of this section shall be provided by the court at the time of the conviction of the prostitution offense which is to be expunged under this section. (2013-368, s. 11.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014