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Union County State District Judge Jack W. Barker is reminding the public that the Arkansas Legislature recently passed Act 680 of 2019, which will go into effect on July 24. It abolishes the $50 per charge filing fee for obtaining an order of seal (expungement) for felony or misdemeanor criminal or traffic court arrests or convictions in circuit and district courts. This act amends the Comprehensive Criminal Record Sealing Act of 2013.

The necessary forms including the petition to seal and order to seal may be obtained online at www.acic.org. or at the Union County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, 307 American Road, Suite 114. The petitioner may obtain a copy of their criminal or traffic court record by request at either the Court Clerk’s office located at the Union County Courthouse or the District Clerk’s office located at 250 American Road in El Dorado.

The legislature expressly stated in Act 680 that its intent was to find an easier pathway for a person to seal his or her record of certain criminal offenses for which sealing is already an option. Pursuant to the act, a person is eligible to file a uniform petition to seal his or her record immediately after the completion of his or her sentence for the felony, misdemeanor or violation, including full payment of restitution; court cost, full payment of driver’s license suspension reinstatement fee(s) if such was assessed as a result of the person’s arrest or conviction; and completion of all other previously imposed license reinstatement requirements.

There is not a limit to the number of times a person may file a uniform petition to seal a record for a misdemeanor or violation, including records of arrests for which the state either dismissed or did not formally file charges. Certain felony charges are excluded for sealing purpose. In addition, certain felony and misdemeanor charges require a five year waiting period since the dates of completion of the person’s sentence before a petition to seal may be file.

Act 680 of 2019 can be found online at www.arkleg.state.ar.us. As a public service, the District Clerk’s Office has copies available for pickup at no charge.

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