If you've got a criminal record from Dallas County that you need cleared, now's the time.
The county's district attorney's office, public defender's office and district clerk's office are holding the county's annual Expunction Expo, during which attorneys will be helping eligible people have their records expunged, county officials announced Monday.
People may qualify to have their records expunged for a number of reasons. During a news conference Monday, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said the most common reasons are that the person was arrested but charges were never filed, the person was tried for a crime and acquitted or the person went through a rehabilitative program instead of going to prison.
This year marks the third year the county has held the Expunction Expo. During the previous two programs, more than 400 people have had their records expunged, county officials said.
Lynn Pride Richardson, the county's chief public defender, said people with criminal records have a hard time finding jobs. That causes problems not only for the person with the record but also for that person's family — it's difficult for those people to take care of their children if they can't find jobs, she said.
But many people who are eligible to have their records expunged don't seek to do it at first because they don't understand those long-lasting effects, Richardson said. In many cases, people who go through the program find their lives drastically changed at the end of it.
"It truly is a transformational process," she said.
Those who think they are eligible to have their records expunged must preregister at dallascounty.org/expunction. Those who are eligible will be invited to meet with a volunteer attorney on Sept. 14. Those who successfully have their records expunged will be invited to a graduation ceremony on Dec. 7.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.