HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Many people with arrests for minor offenses have a difficult time finding a job or even renting an apartment.

A local lawmaker is pushing a bill he hopes would help expunge people’s records for these offenses to improve their lives.

“I’m not judged for the rest of my life for the one mistake I made, I should be able to clean my record,” said Terry Canales, State Representative D-40.

Canales says House Bill 1715 would allow people convicted of low-level offenses and non-violent misdemeanors to clean their record a few years after their arrest.

He says the legislation will give people with certain nonviolent misdemeanors an opportunity to get jobs, apartments and even an education.

“If you break the law, you should be punished. You do the crime, you pay the time, so to speak. But I think we’ve gone overboard in giving people scarlet letters or tattooing them for the rest of their life. If someone’s made a mistake in the past for a low-level offense, they should be encouraged to rehabilitate and improve their lives,” he said.

Canales believes HB 1715 would encourage good behavior and create a more just and fair criminal justice system.

Local attorney Rick Barrera agrees.

“What a lot of U.S. attorneys experienced out here in the Valley is that there’s a lot of people who had, one or two mistakes, especially possession charges, and it was something when they were younger, that just really unfairly affects them the rest of their employment career,” Barrera said.

Canales adds that the bill can give people an incentive to change and rehabilitate and make meaningful changes in their lives.

“When you deal with, you know, offenses or nonviolent and things like that, we look at what is justice, what is the point of justice?” Barrera said.

Canales says the bill would strictly cover the expunction of arrest records for misdemeanors such as small possessions of marijuana.

The bill would not include violent offender or those convicted of sex crimes.