How much does expungement cost? We look at what you’re likely to pay to seal or expunge that unflattering record.
If you are reading this article, either you or someone close to you has fallen into some bad luck. Often, it’s stressful and tiring enough dealing with the consequences of a court decision.
And when that happens, dealing with an expungement maybe is the last thing you want to manage.
The answer to “how much does an expungement cost” varies depending on where you live, the charges, how recent the incident occurred, and who helps you throughout the expungement process.
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In many cases, hiring an attorney to expunge your records can be a wise decision. But attorney or not, the typical cost of an expungement is anywhere between $400 and $1,000.
Below, we look at what’s involved in the expungement process. We also show you the best ways to lower expungement costs and lower the burden on your wallet
And finally, we offer tips on finding the best attorney to complete the process.
Learn the best questions to ask so you can feel safer knowing you are in the right hands.
What Does Your Expungement Cost Cover?
Calling an attorney can be enough to rattle anyone’s brain. After all, you didn’t study law, so why should you know what’s involved in the records removal process?
But first, it’s important to know why you must file for expungement to begin with.
Expungement and the costs that go with it exist to help further reintegrate you into society. This type of records removal is meant for those who have made past mistakes but are now law-abiding citizens.
The ultimate goal is to help you get your life back on track without an arrest record standing in the way.
If you are successful and expunge your record, any sign of your case disappear from view. “Sealing” your record, however, removes your files from public record.
However, at the end of the day, those charges are still in the system, just not accessible by the public.
The expungement process is quite simple; you just need to know what to do.
Initially, you need to obtain a copy of the charges filed against you. From here, you need to complete a petition for an expungement. This petition is then reviewed by a judge.
The details for filing an expungement vary among different jurisdictions. Be sure to visit or call your local county clerk’s office if you should need assistance.
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These opportunities are far and few in between, but there are cases where you may qualify for a discount on your expungement. One of the easier ways to save money is to do it yourself, meaning you will not employ a lawyer for help.
To do so, call the legal aid office in the county where the arrest occurred to see if you are eligible for discounted legal assistance. Depending on the county/state that your arrest was in, free assistance may not always be available.
At the end of the day, if you are confident enough to apply yours after serving your time or being found innocent you can certainly do so. But please note if you perform these actions yourself, the process may take longer.
Selecting the Best Lawyer to Expunge Your Criminal Records
If you decide to hire a lawyer to help with your expungement efforts, there are a few things you should always keep in mind:
First off, make sure you understand what you are paying for. Know whether the attorney charges a flat fee or not. Hiring an attorney on an hourly basis can easily hike costs into the thousands of dollars.
And before hiring any lawyer, make sure you receive the terms of their “retainer” in writing. Understand exactly what is covered and what to expect. This goes for additional or unexpected fees along the way.
In the end, filing for expungement is a fairly straightforward process once you understand what the expungement costs and processes are.
But we always recommend hiring a professional when handling sensitive information, such as your arrest record. If you cannot afford to hire an attorney, that is still okay. The process may take longer and can be a little more stressful, however skipping the expungement costs entirely is an option.
If you have any additional questions or need help with expungement, please complete the form below. One of our knowledgeable EraseMugshots specialists will reach out to you within 12-hours.
You may also contact our Arrest Records Removal team at 866-354-0189.