AUSTIN, Texas — If you have a criminal record in Travis County, you may be able to get a clean slate next month.
The county will hold an "expunction expo" on Feb. 29. Expunction is a legal process where arrests and charges can be removed from a person's criminal record, clearing their name.
Officials say having a criminal record can make someone feel stuck, preventing them from getting a job, place to live or even social services.
"We are aware of the difficulties people face in housing, employment, benefits – all kinds of areas," said Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.
Moore said a person's criminal history can be an impediment to them, even if it didn't result in a conviction.
"This is an office that seeks justice, and for folks to be hampered by a criminal record that doesn't need to be public anymore, to us [that] is something we want to remedy," she said.
Travis County District Clerk Velva Price said the aim of the event was to make the justice system as easy as possible.
"It is going to be a lot of work, but I think it's a thing we want to do; it's a job we want to do," said Price.
The expo will be sponsored by the Travis County District Clerk's Office, the District Attorney's Office and the County Attorney's Office. Attorneys will be on-hand at the expo and all services will be offered for free. Legal work will be provided by Capital Area Private Defender Services, the Austin Young Lawyers Association, Volunteer Legal Services and other lawyers and groups donating their services.
According to Texas law, you may qualify for an expunction if any of the following apply:
- You were arrested but a charge was never filed or was not billed by the grand jury.
- You have a criminal charge that was dismissed.
- You successfully completed a diversion program, such as Pretrial Diversion or Drug Court.
- You were acquitted on your charge by a judge or jury (usually by a finding of “Not Guilty”) or appellate court.
- You were convicted of a crime but later pardoned by the governor of Texas or president of the United States.
The expo will be held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 29.
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