Port City United event offers opportunity to expunge criminal record

Port City United event offers opportunity to expunge criminal record
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 8:35 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Dozens of people showed up at the MLK Center in Wilmington Friday for a chance at a fresh start.

Port City United hosted an event called Fresh Chance Friday to help people expunge charges on their records and connect them with dozens of employers.

“With being able to get a charge expunged off of your record, it’s like giving you literally a first chance. You know, a chance to not be judged, a chance to be seen and a chance to prove what you’re made of,” said Cedric Harrison, director of Port City United

People began lining up to ask about the possibility of getting items expunged from their record hours before the event even started. By the official start time at 2 p.m., people were wrapped around the building.

“I don’t think none of us expected this many people to turn out, and especially for the expungement program. That shows people want to be on the up and up, do better with their life and move forward,” said Derlic Inabinet, a Port City United employee.

Those consultations were offered by Second Chance Wilmington, an organization that came from a recent grant from New Hanover County. Their goal is to get people back on their feet and give them a second chance in life.

While the line was long, for many, it was worth the wait.

“I got four boys. I got four little critters,” Antwane Nixon said. “Those is what got me here right now.”

Meeting with a law firm can cost hundreds, but at the event, you can receive a consultation at no cost.

The type of criminal offense is important when it comes to expungement. As of December of 2021, criminal records that can be considered for expungement fall under the following categories:

  • Up to 3 “non-violent” felony convictions
  • Multiple “non-violent” misdemeanor convictions
  • First-time conviction of certain offenses committed before the age 18 or 22
  • Certain convictions committed before the age of 18 that occurred before December 1, 2019
  • Dismissed and “not guilty” charges
  • A conviction that was the result of being the victim of human trafficking

For more information on which offenses can be considered for expungement, please visit nccourts.gov.

“We want people with criminal records to know that the law has changed a lot in the last three to five years. In today’s landscape, almost everyone is eligible for some type of relief. So, dismiss charges are eligible for relief, anything that’s not guilty. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s still on their criminal record,” said Ayana Robinson, manager of Second Chance Practice Group.

Another service provided by Port City United is transportation. If you want to attend the event but don’t have a ride, you can call 1(910) 798-4444. This service is also available all year long for those who started a new job but don’t have a way to get there. The organization can offer you a bus pass, gas card or pick you up themselves. The service is available until you receive your first paycheck.

To learn more about the services, you can visit the Port City United website.