Pre-registration starts TODAY at noon for Fresh Start criminal record sealing & Know Your Rights Housing Workshop – News from Harris County Courts

Fresh Start record sealing program expanding next month to include eligible felonies thanks to new partnership with criminal district courts

Online pre-registration for criminal record sealing and housing rights workshop begins at noon on Monday, Jan. 22.

Feb Fresh start release box

Jan. 19, 2024 – The Fresh Start misdemeanor criminal record sealing program is expanding to include eligible felony cases thanks to a new partnership with the criminal division of the Harris County State District Courts.

Texas state law allows certain felony charges that did not result in a conviction to be sealed from public view upon successful completion of mandated requirements and waiting periods.

The new partnership will formally launch at Fresh Start on Saturday, Feb. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, at Hester House in Fifth Ward. Online pre-registration is required for record sealing and launches at noon on Jan. 22:

“We’re always looking for opportunities to better serve our community beyond the walls of the courtroom,” said Judge Te’iva Bell, who serves as the administrative judge for the criminal division of the Harris County State District Courts. “We’re excited for the opportunity to partner with our misdemeanor court colleagues and be part of Fresh Start.”

Launched in 2022, Fresh Start helps eligible people course correct after encounters with the criminal justice system by sealing their eligible criminal records and connecting them with community resources. The program aims to help people meet their basic needs — reducing recidivism and making communities safer in the process.

In addition to record sealing, the Know Your Rights Housing Workshop for Landlords and Tenants* will return for the February event. The workshop will offer 30-minute, come-and-go sessions covering topics such as contracts, expectations, landlord and tenant rights, and the eviction process. Pre-registration for the housing rights workshop is encouraged but not required:

“If you’ve only seen life from inside the four corners of your home or neighborhood, you may not know things can get better. You may not know how to go about getting there,” Harris County Criminal Courts at Law Presiding Judge Shannon Baldwin said. “Fresh Start gives you a road map. We’re thrilled to be able to continue expanding the program and help get more people back on track and headed in the right direction.”

Fresh Start is offered by Harris County Criminal Courts at Law and their community outreach arm, BAYOU City Community Court, in partnership with Harris County Public Defender’s Office, Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, Harris County State District Criminal Courts, Harris County Civil Courts at Law, Neighborhood Defender Service of Texas, and the Houston Apartment Association. The event is co-sponsored by Harris County Precinct One.

For more information about Fresh Start or to pre-register, go to

*The information provided during the Free Housing Rights Workshop for Landlords and Tenants is not legal advice. Legal information is not the same as legal advice. The information provided during the workshop is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. You should consult a licensed attorney of your selection to ensure that the information provided during the workshop and your interpretation of it are appropriate for your particular situation. You should not and are not authorized to rely on information provided as a source of legal advice.

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