Restore your Firearm Rights after expungement of a Non-Violent Felony Conviction

If you were convicted of a nonviolent felony in North Carolina an expungement of the conviction may help with your ability to restore your firearm rights.  Our law firm does not specifically handle firearm restoration issues but a North Carolina Expungement/MAR/Pardon of a conviction may be helpful for that process.  A lawyer at our office will explain how the expungement process works during a free initial consultation.

A person with a prior conviction for a misdemeanor crime of violence would likely need to obtain an expungement of the conviction; an appropriate pardon; or other relief, such as an order granting a motion for appropriate relief.

All cases are unique.  If you have questions about your eligibility for an expungement contact our office for a free consultation.

Link to the Statute: G.S. 14-415.4

Certificates of Relief

The certificate-of-relief procedure allows people who have been convicted of a crime to apply for relief from the collateral consequences that could impede their reintegration into society.

You can obtain a certificate if you have been convicted of no more than two Class G, H, or I felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions of any class in one session of court. This language allows a certificate to be obtained for up to two convictions for any combination of the permissible convictions.

If granted, a certificate of relief applies to two types of collateral consequences: Collateral Sanctions (penalties, disabilities, or disqualifications imposed by operation of law); and Disqualifications (defined as penalties that an agency, official, or court may impose based on the conviction).  In other words, collateral sanctions are those that are mandatory in the absence of a certificate of relief, while disqualifications are those that a board or commission would have the discretion to impose.

A certificate of relief relieves the person of all mandatory collateral sanctions except those listed in G.S. 15A-173.3; those imposed by the North Carolina Constitution or federal law; and those specifically excluded in the certificate

A certificate of relief does not bar an entity from imposing discretionary disqualifications based on the conviction, but the entity may consider the certificate favorably in deciding whether to impose the disqualification. A certificate of relief does not result in an expungement or pardon of the conviction.

A certificate of relief also has the effect of limiting the liability of a person who works with someone who received a certificate of relief. G.S. 15A-173.5 provides that a certificate of relief bars a judicial or administrative action alleging lack of due care by a person who, knowing of the certificate of relief, hired, retained, licensed, leased to, admitted to a school or program, or otherwise transacted business or engaged in activity with the recipient of the certificate.

Link to statute: G.S. 15A-173.2

Crimes Subject to a Certificate of Relief

  • Any combination of two or fewer Class G, H, or I felony or misdemeanor convictions in one session of court.

Restrictions for a Certificate of Relief

  • No other convictions for a felony or misdemeanor (other than for a traffic violation).
  • Person is not in violation of any criminal sentence.
  • No pending criminal charges.
  • Person is engaged in or seeking a lawful occupation or activity or otherwise has a lawful source of support.
  • Petition may not be filed until 12 months after completion of the sentence.
  • Granting of petition would not pose an “unreasonable risk.”

Citizenship Rights

Conviction of a felony bars a person from exercising various “citizenship” rights, such as the right to vote, hold public office, and sit on a jury.  These citizenship rights are usually automatically restored in North Carolina when a person completes his or her criminal sentence.  Those who are convicted of a felony in another state may be able to get those rights back in North Carolina.

If a person has been convicted in North Carolina of a felony, the agency, department, or court that has jurisdiction must issue a certificate or order evidencing the restoration of the person’s citizenship rights once the person has completed his or her sentence.

If a person has been convicted of a felony in another state (or in federal court) and has completed his or her sentence, the person may apply to the clerk of court in the North Carolina County where the person lives for a certificate evidencing the restoration of his or her citizenship rights.  The clerk must issue the certificate if the person has completed his or her sentence.  An unconditional pardon or satisfaction of all conditions of a conditional pardon also restores a person’s citizenship rights, but neither type of pardon is necessary to restoration of citizenship rights in North Carolina because restoration is automatic on a person’s completion of his or her sentence.

Completion of a felony sentence and restoration of citizenship rights does not automatically restore other rights lost or collateral consequences imposed as a result of a criminal conviction, such as the loss of firearm rights.

Link to statute: G.S. 13-1

Restoration of Citizenship Rights

Principal Restrictions on Restoration of Citizenship Right

  • Completion of criminal sentence, including any period of incarceration, probation, or post-release supervision following incarceration.
Contact us for more info »