A 16-year-old North Carolina driver was recently charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle for his role in a crash in which his vehicle collided with a motorcycle, causing the death of the rider. The accident occurred in the late afternoon when the driver attempted a left turn and failed to yield right of way to the motorcycle, which was proceeding straight through the intersection. The rider was taken to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
While the death of the motorcycle rider was a tragic and potentially avoidable occurrence, the teen driver that caused the accident is not alone. In recent years, crashes involving young drivers resulted in over 2,700 deaths with teen drivers from 16 to 19 responsible for a fatality rate four times that of drivers ages 25 to 69. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, young drivers caused 1,229,000 crashes in total in one year alone.
Marked for life?
This young driver’s error, for which he is being tired as criminal, raises the question whether teens should be branded with their mistakes for the rest of their lives. With background checks increasingly becoming standard procedure, a criminal history may represent a black mark that prevents individuals from entering certain colleges or being selected for specific jobs and professional associations.
Getting criminal records expunged in North Carolina
Under North Carolina law, certain categories of individuals may be eligible for expungement of their criminal records, which means they can be erased or sealed and undetectable in most background checks. Such individuals include the following:
Those who were under 21 years when they were convicted of misdemeanors
Those whose charges were dismissed or who were found not guilty
Currently, however, charges that are motor vehicle violations cannot be expunged.