Arrest – even for some of the most minor crimes – can follow people their entire lives and prevent opportunities for employment, education and housing.
Dallas County is hosting its sixth Expunction Expo, allowing eligible individuals to have their criminal records expunged.
Texas law allows records to be deleted if a person meets certain criteria, but many are often unaware that they may qualify or cannot afford to hire an attorney.
The Expo is a partnership between the Dallas County Attorney’s Office, District Clerk’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, and several volunteer groups providing free legal services.
The program was originally started by Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, but continued under current DA John Creuzot. It has steadily expanded to help more than 1,700 people, according to the district attorney’s office.
“There are people who have nothing but that and it’s kind of hanging there, standing there and it’s a hindrance to moving forward,” Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said.
Interested persons must complete an application on line before July 11. Those who meet the criteria will be contacted by September 12. A pro bono attorney will then contact eligible individuals to begin the paperwork for filing for deregistration.
Kristin Salas is part of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program and helps people clear arrests from their record, which will show up when an employer or landlord runs a criminal background check.
“They’re not looking past this arrest – ‘Oh look, they’ve been rejected. They were really innocent in this whole thing “- so it’s those kinds of cases that exponent will really help,” Salas said.
According to Texas law, people who have offenses on their criminal record may be eligible for expungement if any of the following conditions apply.
- You were arrested but no charges were filed, were not charged by the grand jury, or were dismissed by the district attorney’s office.
- Your felony, class A misdemeanor, or class B misdemeanor charge was dismissed without any type of community supervision or probation prior to the dismissal.
- Your Class C tort has been dismissed or you have successfully completed Class C Deferred Arbitration.
- You have been acquitted (found “not guilty”) of your charge by a judge, jury or court of appeal.
- You were convicted of a felony but later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States, or you were convicted before 9/1/2021 of unlawfully carrying a weapon under the Section 46.02(a) of the Penal Code.
A case is not eligible for expungement if:
- He is still pending.
- You were convicted in this case, even though you only paid a fine.
- You received probation, community supervision, or a trial for a Class A misdemeanor or a Class B misdemeanor, even though your case was later dismissed.
- The case you want to expunge is a felony and you were arrested for another offense at the same time that resulted in a conviction, probation, community supervision, or deferred judgment.