How to Get Legal Aid Help to Expunge a Criminal Record

By Alexa Josphine

People seek expungement to clear their criminal records for purposes such as employment or voting or to own a firearm. Expungement regulations and policies vary from state to state, making the process complicated. Federal poverty income provisions make it possible for low-income people to obtain free legal services. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can expunge your criminal record for almost no cost.

Visit your local legal services center, which will provide you with legal information about how to go about an expungement. Use the website LawHelp.org to access local legal-aid programs in your area. The local legal-aid programs are both publicly and privately funded and will provide you with free legal advice and represent you in court if expungement policies in your state require this.

Consult the Legal Service Corporation (LSC) website to find free legal-aid programs in your community. The LSC is the largest provider of civil legal aid for people with low incomes. To be eligible, you will need to prove, through your tax return records, that you are below 125 percent of the federal poverty level threshold, or have an income below $27,563 a year for a family of four, as of 2011. Click on a state on the LSC site to find information about programs in your area.

Contact your local bar association to receive free legal help. These are volunteer services and the attorneys can review your case and advise you on what to do. Some of these "pro bono" programs also allow attorneys to represent you in court. The U.S. Department of Justice offers resources for local bar associations that may offer pro bono expungement help.

Use free legal hotlines to speak to legal advisers concerning your efforts to expunge a criminal record. This is a helpful resource if you just require quick legal advice and not actual legal representation. The Legal Hotlines website has a directory through which you can find a suitable legal hotline in to contact in your state.

About the Author

Alexa Josphine began her writing career in 2005. Her work has appeared in the monthly publication "DRUM" magazine, among other publications. Josphine is pursuing her master's degree in journalism from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya.

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