DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas legal agencies are partnering up with county officials to host an online Expunction Expo, which will help clear arrests from a person's record, as long as they meet certain qualifications.
Expunction is a procedure wherein arrests and charges can be removed from your record.
It's the fourth annual event, but the first time it's virtual.
"The Expo has continued to grow each year and that means we have been able to help more people get a fresh start and become contributing members of society again," says Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot. "Many people may not be able to obtain gainful employment, attend college or serve in the military because of something on their record that can be eliminated. This is an opportunity for them to change their lives for the better," Creuzot added.
Last year, 1281 people—more than 500 more than the previous year-- participated in the pre-screening process for the Expo. Nearly half met the requirements and were invited to attend the Expo's Pre-Qualification Clinic. During the Virtual Pre-Qualification Clinic, criminal defense and private attorneys volunteer their time to meet with individuals to help determine if they, in fact, have an offense eligible for expunction, if so, that attorney assists the individual with the preparation and filing the necessary legal documents.
This year, attorneys will meet with individuals via videoconference or telephone.
The volunteer attorneys, who are vital to the success of the Expo, include attorneys from the Public Defender's Office, Legal Aid of Northwest Texas, the Dallas Bar Association, the J.L. Turner Legal Society, the Christian Legal Society, and Mosaic Legal Family services, to name a few, as well as students from the University of North Texas (UNT) Dallas College of Law and the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Dedman School of Law. Dallas County District Judges and the Dallas City Attorney's Office/City of Dallas Community Courts.
Since its inception in 2017, the expo has helped clear over 700 criminal records.
Per Texas statute, people who have offenses on their criminal record may qualify for an expunction if any of the following apply:
- They were arrested, but a charge was never filed with the district attorney's office or was no billed by the grand jury.
- They have a criminal charge that was dismissed.
- They were acquitted on their charge by a judge, jury, or appellate court.
- They were convicted of a crime but later pardoned by the governor of Texas or the president of the United States.
You're not eligible for an expunction if:
- your case is still pending
- you were convicted, even if you just paid a fine
- you were placed on probation, community supervision, or deferred adjudication, even if your case was later dismissed.
How to participate in the Virtual Expunction Expo:
• Anyone who believes they are eligible for an expunction can click here between July 6 and July 27, 2020 to complete a participant information form online. Individuals who do not have Internet access can call 214-653-2905 for assistance filling out the forms over the phone.
• Individuals who may have an offense eligible for expunction will be notified by September 4th and be invited to attend the Virtual Pre-Qualification Clinic on Friday and Saturday, September 11-12, 2020.
• Those granted expunctions will be celebrated at a Virtual Graduation ceremony on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
Only Dallas County offenses will be considered.
for more features.