Expungement Clinic to be Held in Brinkley on October 5th

As part of Access to Justice Month, the Arkansas Access to Justice Commission will partner with Mount of Olives Ministries and Legal Aid of Arkansas to host an expungement clinic in Brinkley on October 5th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clinic will take place at the James R. Hale Educational and Cultural Center, located at 300 W. Martin Luther King Drive. This event is a free community service made possible with the help of volunteer attorneys. Members of the public interested in sealing their criminal record must request an appointment by clicking the button below. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should people be able to seal their criminal records?

Sealing criminal records has been linked to higher rates of employment and more secure housing. These factors, in turn, reduce recidivism. Lower recidivism leads to safer communities for us all. Furthermore, a person is only eligible to seal their record after they have paid their debt to society by serving any jail time, paying all fines, fees, and restitution, and doing everything the judge ordered at sentencing. Certain serious, violent, and sexual offenses are never eligible to be sealed. A judge reviews requests to seal a record to make sure sealing is appropriate.

Will it cost me anything to seal my record?

No. Our attorneys at this clinic are all volunteers, making their time and expertise available for free. There is no longer a filing fee to file a petition to seal a criminal record. However, you must have already paid all fines, fees, and restitution before petitioning to seal your record.

Can I seal a conviction from another state?

Not in Arkansas. You will need to consult an attorney in the state where you were convicted to see if the offense can be sealed there. If you are low-income, you can apply for free legal advice in many states using the American Bar Association’s Free Legal Answers website: https://abafreelegalanswers.org/.

What if I served time in ADC?

If you served time in the Arkansas Department of Correction, your offense almost certainly cannot be sealed. Certain serious felonies cannot be sealed. This includes offenses where the offender was sentenced to the Arkansas Department of Correction.

I wasn’t convicted. Can I seal a record of arrest?

Yes. Arkansas allows records of arrest to be sealed if the prosecutor did not file charges within one year of the arrest.

Is there a waiting period?

That depends on the seriousness of the offense. Many felonies involving violence will never be eligible to be sealed. For those violent felonies that can be sealed, there is a five year waiting period. There is also a five year waiting period for certain serious misdemeanors. For all offenses, you must complete your sentence before petitioning to seal your record.

What if I can’t make it to this clinic?

You can get advice about whether your offense is eligible to be sealed at AR.freelegalanswers.org or by applying for legal aid by calling 1.800.952.9243.

Will my record be sealed on the day of the clinic?

No. This clinic will help you with the paperwork to ask to seal your record. However, you must still file the request with the court that convicted you. The prosecutor will get an opportunity to object and the judge will decide whether or not to seal your record. If your offense was a felony, there will likely be a hearing.

Which convictions can be sealed?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is complicated and depends on the circumstances of your case. Please use the “Request an Appointment” button above to see if your offense is likely eligible. Even if you get an appointment, the attorney volunteer who helps you will still have to review the details of your case to make sure you are eligible.

Generally speaking, though, most misdemeanors are eligible to be sealed. For felonies, many drug offenses will be eligible to be sealed, along with less serious felonies. For all offenses, you must have already paid your debt to society by completing all terms and conditions of your sentence. That includes having paid all fines, fees, restitutions, and court costs.

Do I need an appointment?

Yes! Record sealing events are often very well attended. To help us plan, we require that all clients for this clinic have an appointment. This also helps us to ensure that you don’t wait hours only to find out your offense isn’t eligible to be sealed. Please click the “Request and Appointment” button above to see if you are eligible to attend this clinic.

What should I bring with me to the clinic?

Please complete the “Request an Appointment” form above. If you are given an appointment, bring the following items to the clinic:

  • A photo ID
  • Sentencing Order
    • This can be obtained by visiting the clerk’s office for the court that convicted you.
  • ACIC Criminal History Report
    • This report can be obtained by completing this form. Please request this report at least a week before the clinic.

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