Hundreds clear their record at first-ever Travis County Expunction Expo

Travis County

AUSTIN, TEXAS (KXAN) — In less than 20 minutes, hundreds of people got the green light to move their lives forward during a Travis County Expunction Expo.

The Travis County District Clerk’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office and the County Attorney’s Office teamed up to hold the first-ever event in Travis County.

“This great collaborative effort will extend the ability of our community to provide supportive and accessible ways for individuals to remove obstacles that prevent people from living their lives to the fullest potential,” said Travis County District Clerk Velva Price.

Expunction is a legal process where arrests or charges are removed from your criminal record.

Though 498 people applied for the expunction event, it was limited to 375 applicants. More than 50 lawyers volunteered for it.

“I just witnessed when I was upstairs a woman come up to us when she was done. She looked at all of us and said ‘This is it, this is all?’ We said, ‘yes.’ She just got really emotional about it,” said Alisa De Luna, Executive Director for Volunteer Legal Services Central Texas. “One woman said she’s been waiting for 10 years to become a nurse. She needed to clear up her background in order to do that. Now she can.”

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 no-billed by the grand jury.
  • You have a criminal charge that was DISMISSED
  • You were arrested but a charge was NEVER FILED or was no-billed by the grand jury.
  • You successfully completed a DIVERSION PROGRAM, such as Pretrial Diversion, Drug Court, etc.
  • 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 the President of the United States.

Individuals with arrest records often find it hard to obtain jobs, housing, or financial aid for college. KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout talked to one woman getting her record cleared whose been told no many times.

“They’ve put a hold on my life, three different charges on my background. I had been arrested, just never completely charged,” said the Expunction Expo Attendee.

Her charges were eventually dismissed, yet still showed up on her record.

“I had applied to go on a field trip with my 6-year-old. That was one of the things I was nervous about, because you have to have a background check,” she said. “It’s an embarrassing thing to have to worry about. If you’re going to get denied. It’s held me from getting a job before.”

Travis County officials said they modeled the event after a similar one held in Dallas County for the last three years.

In 2019, the Dallas County District Attorney’s office reported 1,281 applicants, the highest number since they began hosting the expo in 2017. 577 people met the requirements and were invited to attend. After the September 2019 event, the D.A.’s office reported 330 people were granted an expunction.

If a person qualifies, they can apply to be granted an expunction. To make an appointment, you can follow this link. This will allow you to pull up your criminal history report. From there, you call the Expunction Reference Attorney: 512-854-1631

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking the Coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases Tracker

Latest Central Texas COVID-19 Cases

More Coronavirus Live Blogs

Trending Stories

Don't Miss