Consequences of a Criminal Conviction and Avenues for Relief

In this brief blog I want to announce updated editions of two much lengthier resources.

One is my Guide to Relief from a Criminal Conviction, now updated to include legislation enacted by the General Assembly through the end of 2023 as well as pertinent court decisions. Each section of the guide analyzes a different form of relief from the consequences of a criminal conviction in North Carolina—for example, an expunction of a nonviolent felony or misdemeanor conviction under G.S. 15A-145.5. For each form of relief, the guide includes an easy-to-use (I hope) table identifying the offenses for which relief can be obtained, the requirements for relief, and links to the governing statutes and forms from the Administrative Office of the Courts. The guide deals at length with expunctions but also includes sections on other mechanisms for restoring rights, including newly updated sections on procedures related to sex offender registration and satellite-based monitoring. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions at Or get in touch with my colleague Phil Dixon at, who knows many of these areas well.

The other resource is the Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool (C-CAT), a searchable database of the consequences of a criminal conviction under North Carolina law, such as potential restrictions on employment and professional licensure. If you haven’t used C-CAT or haven’t used it in a while, I encourage you to check it out. The search tools are easier to use and the search results easier to view. Type a keyword into the search function or click on a category or subcategory of interest to you (for example, childcare under employment and professional licensure). The tool returns a list of results, each of which provides information about the potential consequence (such as disqualification from a particular field of employment), the duration of the consequence, and the triggering offense. You can filter your search results further by entering more specific terms. Credit for the current version of C-CAT goes to Caitlin Little at the School of Government. Feel free to contact her at with questions or suggestions.

We hope you find these resources helpful in your work.