Collin County Starts Allowing Some First-Time Offenders To Wipe Records Clean

The Collin County District Attorney’s Office says this is the first expunction program ever offered by the county and people are already lining up to take advantage of it.

Video Transcript

- Revealing a criminal conviction or arrest on a job or housing application can cripple someone's opportunities for both. Collin County announced a new program today that will allow some people to wipe their records clean. CBS 11's J.D. Miles with that story for us, all new at 4:30.

J.D. MILES: The Collin County district attorney's office says this is the first expunction program ever offered here, and people are already lining up to take advantage of it.

It was an impulsive decision as a teenager to shoplift from a Walmart store, that 21-year-old D.D. Lucas didn't realize could have had a long-term impact on her life.

D.D. LUCAS: It was like, you know, something dumb, just thinking I can get away with stuff.

J.D. MILES: The McKinney woman says she was denied housing because of her misdemeanor offense, and worried that a choice to commit a crime which she later regretted would derail her plans to become a nurse.

D.D. LUCAS: You know, because people think, you know, it's natural for people to think you did it once, you might do it again. I won't.

J.D. MILES: Lucas is one of the first applicants of Expunction Collin County. It's a program to clear criminal records of first-time offenders, announced today by District Attorney Greg Willis.

GREG WILLIS: As an expulsion gives you a stronger hand in the game of life, especially for those who've had the deck stacked against them.

J.D. MILES: Applicants who complete an online survey will have their cases reviewed, and even convicted felons could see their cases expunged. It has the support of Collin County's NAACP chapter, which found people of color there are much more likely to be arrested during traffic stops for minor offenses.

JUNE JENKINS: And I am glad that we are looking at those numbers and saying, we've got to do something to correct the problem.

J.D. MILES: Those who receive expunctions going forward can legally deny that they've ever been arrested or prosecuted for those offenses. In McKinney, J.D. Miles, CBS 11 News.