Expungement of Criminal Records
Expungement, also known as expunction, is the process of permanently removing a criminal record from public view. In Texas, eligible individuals can have their records expunged if they were acquitted, pardoned, or if their case was dismissed. To begin the expungement process in Fort Worth, Texas, individuals should consult with a Fort Worth expungement lawyer to determine their eligibility and guide them through the necessary steps in the legal system.
Orders of Non-Disclosure
Orders of Non-Disclosure (OND) offer an alternative for those who do not qualify for expungement. An OND seals a criminal record from public access, allowing the ex-offender to deny the existence of the record in most situations. Qualifying for an OND typically requires the completion of deferred adjudication probation, followed by a waiting period. As with expungement, an attorney can help determine eligibility and provide guidance on obtaining an OND.
Pardons Are a Rare Possibility
A pardon is an act of clemency granted by the Governor of Texas, which forgives a past criminal conviction. Pardons do not erase criminal records but can make it easier for ex-offenders to obtain employment, housing, and other opportunities. To apply for a pardon, individuals must submit an application to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Re-Entry Programs Are an Offer of Support
Re-entry programs are designed to help ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into society. In Fort Worth, Texas, organizations like Unlocking DOORS offer comprehensive re-entry support, including housing assistance, job training, and mentoring. By participating in these programs, ex-criminals can gain valuable skills and support networks to overcome barriers caused by old criminal records.
Employment Opportunities Are Available
Some employers in Fort Worth are open to hiring individuals with criminal records, recognizing the importance of giving second chances. Programs like the Texas Workforce Commission's Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) incentivize employers to hire ex-offenders by offering tax credits. Ex-criminals can also seek assistance from local non-profit organizations that specialize in job placement for individuals with criminal backgrounds.
Legal Assistance When Help Is Needed
Navigating the legal system can be complex, and ex-offenders may need guidance in addressing their criminal records. The Tarrant County Bar Association offers a Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) that can connect individuals with experienced attorneys in Fort Worth. Additionally, some organizations, such as Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, provide free legal services to those who qualify based on income.
Becoming involved in community service and local organizations can help ex-criminals build a positive reputation, demonstrating their commitment to change. Volunteering, participating in local events, and joining clubs or associations can create a network of support and foster personal growth. By showing a dedication to giving back to the community, ex-offenders may find it easier to overcome the stigma associated with their past criminal records.
Summing It All Up
While dealing with old criminal records can be challenging, ex-criminals in Fort Worth, Texas, have numerous options to address their past and build a brighter future. By exploring these resources and taking proactive steps towards rehabilitation, individuals can overcome barriers and successfully reintegrate into society.