Move quickly. This year, Koch’s attorneys are providing this service only in February and March.
Committed to their company’s vision that people who made mistakes and paid the penalty deserve a second chance to turn their life around, corporate attorneys with Wichita-based Koch Industries have volunteered to help eligible individuals get their records expunged.
Expungement refers to the process of sealing arrest and conviction records. Once a person’s record is expunged, they don’t have to disclose their previous convictions or arrests to potential employers or landlords.
During February and March, Koch Industries is allowing its attorneys to use work time to assist Kansas Legal Services provide pro bono (free) records expungement services to a targeted list of individuals in Sedgwick County. This year, the attorneys will be working to clear the records of those with state of Kansas charges.
If you’re not sure if your charges were state or municipal, the answer is pretty simple. If you went to the County Courthouse for your charges, versus a municipal building, you qualify for this particular expungement program. Also, this program is for adult charges, not charges an individual may have received as a juvenile.
“We’re trying to work with low-income people who don’t have access, who can’t go hire a lawyer,” said Marilyn Harp, executive director of Kansas Legal Services about the organization’s expungement efforts. “You don’t have to be really super poor, but our goal isn’t to do wealthy kids’ expungement.”
By Kansas law, to qualify for an expungement an individual must:
Have completed their sentence, at least five years previously for a felony and three years previously for a misdemeanor.
Individuals who were required to register on a list – drug, violent offender or sexual offender – are not eligible for expungement. There are other crimes that aren’t eligible for expungement, but if you’re not sure if your charges qualify, Harp suggests reaching out to KLS anyway.
In addition, you must not have been charged for a crime, or have a charge pending, in the past two years.
How to Apply
You can apply for this expungement program by calling Kansas Legal Services at (800)723-6953 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also apply online at KansasLegalServices.org.
It would be helpful if individuals know the charges they were convicted of and when they completed their sentence or a case number, but that information isn’t required to apply. Applicants will be required to pay $20 for a Kansas Bureau of Investigation report, which will help KLS process your application before turning your case over to the Koch attorneys.
“They’ll do the paperwork for the people, represent them and file the paperwork as their lawyers,” said Harp.
The only other cost could be a $196 filing charge per case. However, Hart says if people are low income, they’ll ask the court to waive the filing fee.
“We encourage all Koch employees to participate in this pro bono initiative if they so choose to do so,” said David Dziok, director of communications for Koch. “We know each of us has a responsibility regardless of our day job to make a positive difference.”