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Iowa Help Legal Aid, a nonprofit that helps people who cannot afford legal representation, is holding a clinic on Tuesday, Dec. 4, to help those facing obstacles to housing or employment because of their criminal records.

Oftentimes charges that have been acquitted or dismissed remain on a person's record, and employers and landlords checking Iowa Courts Online about prospective employees or tenants may decide, based on that, that they simply don't want to take a chance on that person, said Leah Patton, with Help Legal Aid, Davenport.

But these eligible cases can be expunged, or removed, from one's record so they no longer appear on an online search of court records, and the clinic is being held to help people do that, she said.

The clinic, hosted by IowaWorks, will be held 3-7 p.m. Dec. 4 at One Eighty Ministries, 601 Marquette St., Davenport.

Pre-registration is required so Help Legal Aid can search a person's records to see what might be holding them back, Patton said. Legal Aid conducts a complete criminal background check, including driver's license research with the Iowa Department of Transportation.

To register, call 563-445-3200, ext. 2, or 800-532-1275. Or, visit iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/davenport. Go to Dec. 4 on the calendar and click on the event link.

In addition to expunging eligible court cases, the clinic also will help people who have court debt, such as fines, restitution, public defender fees and jail fees, Patton said.

Finally, there will be help for people struggling to register a vehicle or obtain a driver's license because of information on their record.

This free clinic is targeted to people in Scott and Clinton counties with restricted incomes, but Patton urges anyone dealing with these issues to call to see if they might be eligible based on some other kind of category. Legal Aid receives funding specifically to help people over age 60 regardless of income, for example.

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