On Tuesday, June 4th, hundreds are expected to attend DC’s annual Expungement Summit at the Washington Convention Center. The venue – a convention center – speaks to the huge number of people seeking help to clear their official criminal record. Many of these “ex-cons” are part of the over 6,000 people arrested and prosecuted each year in the District for possession of marijuana. Keep adding 6,000 each year, and you wind up at DC’s biggest building. Our wonderful DC Public Defender service – one of the finest in the nation – tries to help those it can. But many can’t be helped because they aren’t eligible for one of DC arcane expungement laws.
There are two kinds of marijuana smokers in DC. Those lucky enough to have avoided arrest, and are clueless as to the hassle a criminal record can cause, and those many hundreds who will schlep to the Convention Center on Tuesday.
A criminal record can mean you lose your job, and can’t find a new one. If you do get an interview, guess what most of the questions will be about? Hint: it won’t be your accomplishments. In education, a marijuana arrest can mean suspension or expulsion from school. College kids are kicked out of dorms and barred from campus. You are ineligible for government programs, like student loans and public housing. If you’re not a US citizen, there are immigration consequences.
Thank you DC PDS and the wonderful public interest lawyers who are volunteering their time to help with community reentry and expungement. For more information contact April Frazier (202-824-2835) or visit DC PDS at this link. http://www.pdsdc.org/LegalCommunity/CalendarItem.aspx?TrainingID=97