A free virtual clinic will walk Dallas County residents through the process of expunging the criminal records that may be keeping them from getting a life-changing fresh start.
“Many people are unaware that they can legally have certain criminal records erased—records that may have prevented them from getting certain jobs, obtaining housing, or even getting financial aid to pursue education or training that would increase their quality of life,” Assistant District Attorney Annissa Obasi said.
The annual Expunction Expo, hosted by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Dallas County Clerk’s Office, has helped clear more than 700 records since starting in 2017, county officials said. Interested applicants have until July 27 to apply online.
The legal process can be complicated, and many people can’t afford to pay an attorney to navigate it for them. Add in the filing fees, and it can be totally out of reach, Obasi said.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has added other barriers to employment.
“In light of the record unemployment rates caused by the pandemic, the leaders of Dallas County felt it was especially important to host the event this year,” Obasi said.
A record may be erasable if it meets the following criteria:
- You were arrested but a charge was never filed or was no-billed by the grand jury.
- You have a criminal charge that was dismissed without any type of community supervision or probation prior to dismissal, except for Class C offenses.
- You were acquitted on your charge by a judge or jury, usually by a finding of “Not Guilty,” or by an appellate court.
- You were convicted of a crime but later pardoned by the governor of Texas or the president of the United States.
A record with the following criteria is not eligible:
- Your case is still pending.
- You were convicted in the case you want to be expunged, even if you just paid a fine. Convictions on other cases do not prevent expunction unless they are from the same arrest.
- You were placed on probation, community supervision, or deferred adjudication for any felony or Class A or B misdemeanor you want to be expunged. This applies even if your case was later dismissed with Class C deferred adjudication being the only exception.
- You were convicted or received any kind of probation on another offense arising from the same arrest.
Applicants should hear by Sept. 4 whether they are eligible to attend the virtual clinic later that month.
Go here for more information. People without internet access can call 214-653-2905 to apply over the phone.