Clean Slate Clinic gives Md. residents with criminal records a 2nd chance

Legal help is available for people who are trying to have criminal records expunged for less-serious crimes under a 2016 Maryland law.

The Clean Slate Clinic will give Montgomery County, Maryland, residents who may have had minor run-ins with the law access to free legal services Monday at the Silver Spring Civic Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Clinic, organized by Council member Tom Hucker and co-sponsored by the Maryland Legal Aid, will connect residents with volunteer attorneys, law students and paralegals to help expunge minor records, such as marijuana possession.

“Often, those convictions can stay on your record for a very long time and prevent people from getting a job or apartment for their family,” Hucker said.

Thanks to a 2016 state law, he’s able to connect folks with the necessary resources to begin the expungement process.

It’s what Hucker calls an important opportunity for thousands of residents, considering Maryland’s open records act, which allows anyone to access criminal records.

“There’s a lot of concern about discrimination that results from just minor criminal violations,” he added.

Legal professionals are also encouraged to volunteer and can register at the Clean Slate website. Translators will also be available to assist.

Residents who are unable to attend the clinic may contact the Montgomery County Council’s office for more information about getting help with the process.

Hucker is now working with other local leaders to expand the clinic to other parts of the county.

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