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Woman with criminal record gets second chance through new expungement program

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A terrible mistake changed LaHeather's life forever.

She went to jail in a heat related accident that cost her son’s life.

It's been 8 years.

"Trying to adjust to come back into society. It’s kind of like having that scarlet letter on your back,” said LaHeather.

She spent a few months in jail and when she got out she tried to gets jobs and buy a house but she couldn't because of her record.

"It's discouraging there is a lot of shame a lot of emotions. You want to be encouraged but then you are slapped in the face and they say no we are not going to be able to help you."

But, help is on the way through a new expungement program by the Dallas District Attorney's Office.

The program helps clear old cases if the individual qualifies.

Attorneys are volunteering their time to help.

On April 29 judges will hold a special court on a Saturday to sign off on the cases.

"If you fall in the category, you had a dismissal, you had no bill, you had a not guilty, you had a pardon, you had an exoneration the you are eligible for an expungement,” said District Attorney Faith Johnson.

Tina Naidoo runs the Potter’s House Texas Offender Re-entry Program that helps inmates get back on their feet. 

She says some of the former inmates she works with quality for the expungements but have never had the money for an attorney to get it done.

"You have to understand a case like this can cost any where from $750 to $3,000 dollars,” said Naidoo.

LaHeather is one of the more than 400 people who have been pre-screened and qualifies to have her record cleared.

"I am going to be able to move forward with my life. I am going to be able to buy a house."

District Attorney Faith Johnson says that is what it's all about helping people who deserve a second chance.

"So I said as the D.A. of Dallas County I want to help those people because I could help them. The law says I could help them."

LaHeather says people like her now can go on about their lives without their past coming back to haunt them.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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