Getting something removed from your criminal record is a long, confusing process. It is not cheap either. Having a record expunged can cost several thousand dollars in legal fees alone. Financial barriers are only the first challenge for those who want to move on from their past; according to Associate Professor of Legal Studies Kim Smith.
“The SAC community wants to offer concrete paths towards acceptance and a better life,” Smith said.
To help students navigate the removal process and eliminate legal costs, Smith is organizing Santa Ana College’s fourth free Expungement and Resource Fair on Saturday, April 15.
The Legal Studies Department partnered with UCI Law among other local legal organizations to make this event possible. They will be offering resources related to immigration and legal services. Expungement services will be available of no cost to those looking to remove a past record. Students will be able to obtain a copy of their Record of Arrest and Prosecutions, aka a RAP sheet, so they are aware of what’s on their current criminal record.
Then, volunteer attorneys and paralegals will work with students to fill out appropriate legal paperwork and begin the expungement process. The process will be free to those who attend. The fair will also include community presentations on relevant topics.
“Topics like how expungement relates to professional licenses or what you need to tell your employer,” Smith said.
Though community members are encouraged to attend too, the expungement fair was put together with formerly incarcerated students in mind, especially those in Project Rise, an on campus club for formerly incarcerated students.
Academic counselor for Project Rise, Dahiana Crabill, worked closely with the Legal Department to design this clinic for her students to benefit from.
“A lot of these students did a lot of time and obviously you are trying to change things around and with a record, the opportunity for them to go to school and work and build a different life is harder,” said Crabill “That’s why we do these events. So we can help them graduate and hopefully get a job or a career.”
SAC Expungement Fair will take place in Building A from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Students can sign up by calling (714) 432-4002 or by visiting http://bitly.ws/CNky