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The Justice Resource Center Now Includes Expunction Assistance

hands hold a basketball with Justice Resource Center logo

Did you know the Justice Resource Center offers services that can get you back on the road to opportunity. Today, residents of Buncombe County can get assistance with expunction and drivers licenses restoration services at the Justice Resource Center five days a week.

Thousands of North Carolinians have had their driver’s licenses suspended for unpaid fines and fees. Under North Carolina’s law, a person’s license can be suspended indefinitely for failing to pay a fine or fee, regardless of how minor or old the underlying offense might be. A suspended license and the resultant lack of reliable transportation have a widespread impact on a person’s ability to work, obtain housing, access healthcare, nutrition, and education, and worst of all can lead to deeper and repeated involvement with the criminal legal system. The suspension crisis falls disproportionately on people with lower incomes and people of color, and the ability to provide financial assistance with fines and fees has been crucial to the County’s License Restoration program. In many instances a small fine or fee is all that stands between a client and job opportunity, meaning that even a relatively small amount of financial assistance can be highly impactful.  


In 2017, Buncombe County Health and Human Services began contracting with Pisgah Legal Services for expunction assistance. The goal of the initial program was to develop a panel of volunteer attorneys to handle dozens of cases referred through what was then called the “Justice Resource Collaborative” to expunge criminal charges and convictions so that people with those incidents on their records could improve their chances for employment and earn higher wages, enter the military, or obtain professional licenses. That program eventually evolved into a part-time position that focused on expunction services.

In 2022, the contract became a part of the Justice Services Department and grew into a full time program via funding from the Safety and Justice Challenge Grant. The grant allowed Expunction services to be connected to the “Safety and Justice Challenge Debt Relief Pilot.” The purpose of the “Safety and Justice Challenge Debt Relief Pilot was simply a debt relief funding service that could assist those seeking to restore drivers’ licenses with fines and fees.

Today, residents of Buncombe County can get assistance with Expunction and drivers licenses restoration services at the Justice Resource Center, located on the 14th Floor of the Buncombe County Courthouse. The services are available via a contract with Pisgah Legal Services who is providing a full-time attorney and a full-time legal assistant who can assist with meeting with clients and helping to meet their needs.


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Updated Mar 08, 2024 02:49 PM
Published Mar 08, 2024 02:36 PM

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