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Clear Your Criminal Record At Dallas County's Expunction Expo

This is a photo of a courtroom inside the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas. There are seats for the judge, the lawyers, and a jury. There are also Texas and American flags hanging on the walls.
dallascounty.org
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A courtroom inside the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas.

The Dallas County District Attorney's Office and the Dallas County District Clerk's office are working with volunteer lawyers to help residents who are eligible have their criminal records erased.

Having an arrest record can make life difficult, even if you were never convicted of a crime.

It can stand in the way of you landing your dream job or be used against you when applying to get an apartment. But the Dallas County District Attorney's Office is working to help those who are eligible to have their criminal records erased.

The program is called the Expunction Expo. It pairs volunteer lawyers with residents who've applied online to determine whether or not they can have their arrest records expunged.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot has said this initiative can be life-changing for the people who are eligible.

“Sometimes it’s the difference in employment, level of employment, education, where you can live," he said. "It’s a real life-changing event for people to get [the crimes on their record] to go away so they can move on with their lives.

The very first Expunction Expo was kicked off in 2016, under the direction of Dallas County's former District Attorney Faith Johnson. Since then, nearly 900 individuals have had their criminal records cleared.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot sits in a chair in his private law office. His elbows are on his knees. He's slumped over and looking down. Creuzot holding his hands together.
Allison V. Smith for KERA News
John Creuzot in his private law office. In January 2019, he relocated to the district attorney’s offices in the Frank Crowley Courts Building.

Creuzot said he's had people explain to him how it's improved their lives.

"The last time we had an in-person event, in 2019, I had a woman come up to personally thank me for this program. She said she was about to finish nursing school and that she had been arrested for a drug offense and never prosecuted," Creuzot said. "She felt as though her record would impair where she could work and how much money she could make, so she was very happy to have that go away."

There are limits to the sorts of things that can be erased from one’s record, Creuzot said. Still, he encourages those who are interested to apply online before July 26.

"Err on the side of caution and let us know. It may be something we can expunge, it may not. But, you know, the statute is fairly dense and complicated, so let us decide. Be more aggressive about getting [your record] cleared," he said "What we want is for the person to move on in life and to be more successful.”

The application process for the program is set to run from July 6-26. Apply here.

How do I know if I MAY be eligible for an expunction?

Per Texas statute, individuals who have offenses on their criminal record MAY qualify for an expunction if any of the following apply:

  • You were arrested but a charge was never filed or was no-billed by the grand jury,
  • Your criminal charge was dismissed without any type of community supervision or probation prior to dismissal, except for Class C offenses,
  • You successfully completed Class C deferred adjudication,
  • You were acquitted on your charge by a judge or jury (usually by a finding of “Not Guilty”), or appellate court, or
  • You were convicted of a crime but later pardoned by the Governor of Texas or the President of the United States.

You are NOT ELIGIBLE for an expunction if:

  • 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, even if your case was later dismissed (Class C deferred adjudication is the only exception); or
  • You were convicted or received any kind of probation on ANOTHER FELONY OFFENSE ARISING FROM THE SAME ARREST.

Got a tip? Email Hady Mawajdeh at hady@KERA.org. You can follow Hady on Twitter @hadysauce.

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