Big news for those aiming to break free from their pasts! Harris County’s “Fresh Start” program, known for giving a new beginning to folks with low-level misdemeanors, is leveling up! Now, even some felony charges can be wiped from the public eye.
Imagine struggling with job and housing rejections because of a felony in your past. That’s been the story for many, including Dominique Crocker from north Harris County. She knows the frustration of being held back by a criminal record.
Back in 2022, Judge Toria Finch launched the Fresh Start program, inspired by similar efforts across the nation. It’s all about second chances, and here’s the kicker—it won’t cost you a dime! No need for fancy lawyers or big bucks. It’s open to anyone meeting the criteria, regardless of income.
Started with misdemeanors and cases on deferred adjudication (a sort of probation deal), the program is now saying, “Hey, let’s include some felonies too!” Texas law allows sealing certain felony charges that didn’t end in convictions after fulfilling requirements and waiting periods.
Judge Finch gets it—having a record feels like a permanent mark. But the Fresh Start program is all about ditching that scarlet letter. The goal? Let people move on and be positive contributors to society.
Once your records are sealed, it’s like they never existed on job or housing applications. Only the cops, lawyers, and courts get to keep a peek.
Dominique Crocker didn’t use Fresh Start, but she still managed to seal the deal (pun intended) with her judge. Now, she’s got a nice job and a cool apartment. The program’s so popular that all 200 slots filled up in three hours!
Mark your calendars for Feb. 10, 10 a.m. at Hester House, where the Harris County Public Defender’s Office will meet the lucky 200. But don’t worry if you missed it; there are more chances in May, August, and November.
And wait, there’s more! A “Know Your Rights Housing Workshop for Landlords and Tenants” is happening in February. No limits, just drop in for juicy info on contracts, rights, and the eviction process.
Have a legal issue? Contact us today!
Krystin Collins Attorney at Law firstname.lastname@example.org 713-775-0332