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How to Clear Your Record Using North Carolina Laws

Motions for Appropriate Relief – Recent Changes to NC Criminal Laws

Justice The criminal laws in North Carolina are occasionally updated to provide assistance to the courts, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, regarding the meaning and intent behind legislation.

Recently, there have been some remarkable changes to the public policies behind criminal records and possibly clearing prior convictions.

The court system, like people, is imperfect.

Laws develop. Evidence becomes available that was unknown at the time of the trial. Prosecuting witnesses realize they made mistakes.

If there was an error in the law and that unjustly affected the verdict, you may be entitled to relief.

That “relief” may take the form of a MAR or Motion for Appropriate Relief. Sometimes defense lawyers may also call that an “MFAR.”

Unless a friend or someone you love has been wronged by the system, it can be hard to empathize or even understand how much that can adversely affect you, your life, and your livelihood.

Criminal convictions have consequences. It doesn’t matter if they’re felony or misdemeanor charges. Your name and reputation are invaluable to success in life.

Everyone seems to be the “law and order” type, until they’ve been on the short end of the stick. It’s easy to forget the concepts of mercy and compassion in our “he got what he deserved” culture.

What may come as a surprise to you is that legal professionals, defense attorneys, judges, and even prosecutors, abhor unjust finding of guilt.

No one wants an innocent person to be convicted or a guilty person convicted outside of or contrary to the Rule of Law.

We all believe in the fundamental protections of the Constitution, things like the 5th Amendment and 6th Amendment rights to a fair trial, the right to face your accuser, and the opportunity to cross-examine and confront the allegations against you.

The Due Process of the law demands it. We are all supposed to enjoy the full and Equal Protection under the law. Sometimes mistakes are made and that doesn’t happen.

If that’s the case in your legal matter, we’re here to help.

We’re dedicated to fighting for the underdog and powerful interests. We take on difficult causes, even if unpopular in the court of public opinion.

“In the last several years, I’ve seen some remarkable changes in the NC criminal laws. We now have options for an MAR and even an expungement that weren’t available not that long ago.”

– John Fanney, Raleigh MAR Lawyer

Changes to filing a Motion for Appropriate Relief N.C.G.S. Chapter 15A-1420(e)
  • How a MAR is assigned to a Judge for review
  • Setting timelines for hearings and filing requirements

In 2012 and again in 2013, the General Assembly modified Chapter 15A-1420. In general terms, such amendments allowed for a more expansive approach to granting Motions for Appropriate Relief.

Specifically, in 2012 the Legislature authorized the State and counsel for the Defendant (the “parties”) to enter into an agreement as to the conditions and appropriateness of the MAR.

Said change(s) allows a substantive and procedural review of any aspect of the bases for the alleged prayer for Appropriate Relief.

In 2013, a portion for 15A-1420(e) was repealed, while reinstating or otherwise preserving important aspects of the criminal law.

The inferred purpose of such legislation was to streamline the process, allowing for the Judge to set aside a judgment of “Guilty” after trial and/or even removing a conviction after entry of a “Guilty Plea.”

In effect, the result has been the limiting the amount court time litigating such matters, assuming the parties consent to both the bases for appropriate relief and the specific relief sought.

One would be remiss in failing to note that the State is not required to consent. In that instance, a formal hearing would be required.

The Court may still enter an Order granting the Motion for Appropriate Relief.

What “Relief” is Possible?

 Undo Redo, MAR A MAR does not automatically result in getting your charges dismissed.

The State may choose to re-prosecute the matter, assuming they are able to present evidence beyond a reasonable doubt as the criminal charges.

One form of relief available may involve only setting aside the judgment or Guilty Plea, thus re-starting the process.

When appropriate, the Court may upon sound legal grounds, Dismiss a Matter, thus precluding prosecution in the future.

Double Jeopardy protections, pursuant to the 5th Amendment, are not applicable.

Motions for Appropriate Relief in Raleigh NC – John Fanney

John Fanney has decades of legal experience helping people in Wake County and the surrounding judicial districts.

“We’re available to travel in the counties surrounding Raleigh, especially in legal matters involving a Motion for Appropriate Relief. In some instances, you may not even be required to go to court.”

– John Fanney, Defense Attorney

You may email Mr. Fanney directly at: John@FanneyLaw.com

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