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People line up in Raleigh in hopes of expunging records

Posted September 27
Updated September 28

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— Nearly a thousand people registered over the last week to have their records expunged. A few hundred more were expected Tuesday night at the Torchlight Academy in Raleigh.

As part of a partnership between the Wake County District Attorney's Office and Justice Served of North Carolina, people can sign up to have their records examined for a possible expungement.

"When you have old charges it's a lot of red tape you have to go through," said Charles Powell, who has two DWI charges dating back to 2006.

Diana Powell with Justice Served of North Carolina said people often made mistakes at 16 and 17 years old.

"Now they are 35, 40 years old and because of that one mistake they went to court not understanding the court system and ended up taking a plea and not realizing that this stuff stays on your record," she said.

Under state law, certain offenses committed under the age of 18, or that are more than 15 years old are eligible to be expunged.

"These things continue to carry on through their life and have an impact on their ability to find jobs," said Don McQueen, the Executive Director of Torchlight Academy.

Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman says many people do not know how to get their records expunged, so as part of this program, 25 lawyers will work pro-bono to help.

"To help people be able to take advantage of those laws on the books, to open up additional opportunities to them and to have that second chance," she said.

Powell said he is looking forward to what he hopes will be a fresh start.

"Some people, they look at your record and they see what you have done but that may not be who you are today. That's just not who I am today," he said.

The deadline to apply for expungement under the program is Sept. 30. There is another pre-registration Thursday at 4 p.m. at Antioch Bible Fellowship, 2701 Holloway Road, Raleigh.


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