KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Wyandotte County’s 5th ever Expungement Fair took place Tuesday and Wednesday.
Toyawn Withers was convicted in 2004 in Kansas of possessing a drug that’s now legal in Missouri and many other states.
“I had some marijuana and they just caught me with it,” she said.
“A lot of these are older convictions so you go back 20 years and possession of marijuana was a felony, those are very expungable,” criminal defense attorney Zack Anthony added.
Expungement means removing certain offenses like drug possession or theft from your record. That can be important for people applying for jobs, housing, college or the military.
“Expungement in the state of Kansas allows them to do interviews and fill out forms and applications and have that box checked where it says you are not a felon,” Anthony explained.
Dangerous crimes committed against people aren’t expungable. But people who commit lower level crimes become eligible 3 to 5 years after completing any probation or parole.
So why doesn’t everyone get their records expunged?
“The barriers are often times that there’s a certain amount of legal knowledge needed to file these things and get them in front of the right judge and right courthouse and right time so what we do is help people fill out the forms and get them directed towards the right places,” Anthony said.
More than 100 people during the two day event received free legal advice and help on getting filing fees waived as well.
“That’s a great feeling for me, having my record clean and clear, no trouble. I’m excited about it,” Withers smiled.
“The implications for some people can go the rest of their life even though they’ve done their time and served their penalty and moved on they’ve made changes in their life. So giving back I think is a good thing to do,” Anthony said.
Most people will never have to go the courthouse for a hearing. The D.A. and the judge sign off on it and then you’ll receive notice of your clean record. Usually that takes a month or two, but with all the applications as a result of the event it might take a little bit longer.