The Center for Arkansas Legal Services is planning to host a free record sealing event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the Shorter College cafeteria at 604 N. Locust St. in North Little Rock, according a Facebook post from the nonprofit law firm.
Amber Quaid, a spokesperson for the center, said the event is designed to help low-income Arkansans. “We want to help people who’ve had to apply for a job or housing and will have a background check done,” she said on Wednesday.
Quaid said attorneys at the event can help seal misdemeanors and some felonies for clients.
However, class Y felonies, commercial burglaries, assault on a law enforcement officer, sexual assault charges and some other cases cannot be sealed, she said.
Clients can discuss their individual situations one-on-one with an attorney on Friday.
“Most people seeking to seal their record have done their time or paid their fines and are no longer committing these misdemeanors,” Quaid said. “They just want to be able to be back in society, and we just want to give them that opportunity.”
Arkansans interested who plan to attend the event should bring their sentencing order and Arkansas Criminal Information Center Report. “If they don’t have it, they can still come see us, it just might take us a bit longer to help,” she said.
Quaid also said they can call the law firm’s help desk at (501) 376-3423 to ensure they're seen on Friday.
“Sometimes we have hundreds of people show up to these events, and we can’t help them all in five hours” she said, “Everyone gets to speak to an attorney, and that is good, but that does mean it can be a bit of a wait." Quaid recommends that those who attend allot themselves plenty of time to get help at the event.
“A perk of coming to this event is the ability to speak to an attorney, and we have notaries on site that can notarize the document. Then we have a sheet that we can go over with them about what to do with the documents after to make sure their record is sealed,” she said.
Quaid added that the law firm tries to host a record sealing event at least once a month in various places all over the state. The firm is able to offer the service for free in part because, according to her, a 2019 law did away with the $50 charge for record sealing.
“In 2022, we were able to help 235 Arkansans with record sealing needs and help prepare over 1,000 documents” Quaid said.
While most of their services are aimed at low-income Arkansans, Quaid said the firm tries to help everyone. “If they don’t qualify to get help from us, then we can help direct them towards resources, or we have videos and information about how to seal your record yourself on our website,” she said.
Quaid also said the law firm hosts a monthly Pulaski County help desk that can assist with record sealing and other civil legal services.
The next help desk for Pulaski County is set for Feb. 8.