Boards must evaluate multiple mitigating factors (including evidence of rehabilitation) for licensing applications.
Bans agencies from using “moral turpitude” to disqualify applicants.
Areas of Improvement
Ban agencies from relying on arrest records or old convictions.
Extend directly related test to cover all crimes.
Updated February 2023
After enacting a major overhaul in 2019, North Carolina earns a B for its final grade. However, unlike nearly all other states, North Carolina exempts sexual and violent crimes from its directly related test, allowing boards to deny applicants even if their criminal record is completely unrelated to the license sought.
As part of that 2019 reform bill, the Tar Heel State implemented in-depth reporting. Since then, North Carolina licensing boards have issued licenses to more than 18,300 people with criminal records. Only 151 applicants have been denied a license due to their criminal record, a denial rate of just 0.76%.
The agencies that have granted the most licenses to people with criminal records were:
Real Estate Commission (8,366)
Board of Barber Examiners (4,243)
Board of CPA Examiners (1,813)
Board of Nursing (1,030)
Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board (456).
Statute: N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 93B-8.1 (2019)
Overarching ban on blanket bans
Ban on considering arrest records
Ban on considering post-conviction relief records
Ban on vague, discretionary character standards
Relationship between the crime and the license sought
“Directly related,” excluding sexual or violent crimes
Required factors for consideration
Time elapsed since crime was committed
Age when crime was committed
Burden of Proof
Right to appeal
Written notice requirement
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