Dallas County to expunge criminal records of some non-violent offenders

New Program Expunges Some Criminal Records

DALLAS COUNTY, Texas – Brenda Valles is young and made a mistake.

She had a car wreck and was charged with driving without a license and deadly conduct, in her case a non-violent misdemeanor charge.

She says she knows it looks bad.

"Especially if you say deadly conduct and they think oh she was trying to kill someone or do something. It looks bad when you are trying to get a job."

She is trying to get the charges expunged and off her record so potential employers don't hold it against her.

"Basically when I try to get a job it will be less harder and it wouldn't be on my record and it would be better future in trying to build my career."

She is one of thousands who may be eligible for a new expungement program that Councilwoman Tiffany Young and District Attorney Faith Johnson have put together.

"I just know that I could not sit by another day and hear the cries from those people that I represent and say Ms. Young help me help me help me,” said Young.

So the county is holding a clinic in April where judges will be on hand to help expunge the records of people who qualify. The crime has to be non-violent but there are other stipulations that’s why the county will hold a pre-registration clinic to see if people qualify.

"Now I want you all to know we are not planning to expunge violent criminals, repeat offenders, or family violence cases. Those cases will not be expunged,” Johnson said.

The DA says often times people don't know that they can get their records cleared.

Sometimes those records have prevented people from getting jobs, housing and even getting into college.

"We are tough and we are tough on crime and still tough on crime, however we are compassionate too,” said Johnson.

People like Brenda Valles welcomes the program that could help people in similar situations.

The expungement process is two parts:

1. The county will have a pre-clearance clinic on March 4 to determine if people are eligible and then on April 29.

2. There will be an expungement expo where judges will be on hand to sign the paperwork and clear those people who are eligible.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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