How to File an Expungement Without an Attorney

By Christopher Michael
Erase your criminal record.

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Attorneys can charge enormous sums of money for simple legal tasks. They rely on the fact that they know the system and you do not. Expungement, in some cases, is an example; in some states, it is as simple as showing up to the convicting court, filling out the required paperwork with the court clerk and supplying some attainable documents. Spend a little time, do some research and discover if you are comfortable with expunging your record without an attorney.

Look at your court papers. Note the exact date of conviction and exactly the type of crime entered on your criminal history.

Look at your sentencing papers. You should have kept proof of payment of fines, completing jail time, completion of court-ordered classes or treatment and successful completion of probation. Note the exact dates of completion.

Use the Internet to find the rules of expungement in the state in which you were convicted. The information should be contained on a Department of Justice, Superior Court or Attorney General's website. You may need to read the specific statute concerning expungement if there is not a summary available.

Discover if your crime is eligible for expungement. Every state restricts expungement in a different manner concerning violent crimes, crimes involving children or DUI offenses. Sex crimes and crimes of moral turpitude are generally ineligible.

See if enough time has passed. Some states require a certain amount of time to pass after the date of conviction, the completion of probation or the completion of jail time. Refer to your court documents.

Find the proper procedure for expungement. Some states require you to file the petition in person at the convicting court. Some allow you to mail the petition with a fingerprint card taken at a local police station. Others require you to file a petition with the convicting court, notify the prosecutor, notify law enforcement and set a date for a hearing within 30 days.

File the petition in the appropriate manner and pay the applicable fee. You will be mailed a judgment. Your petition will likely be heard by a judge in a closed session of court; you do not have to attend.

About the Author

Christopher Michael began writing in 2010 for Break.com. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Writing sports and travel articles helps support his professional baseball career, which has taken him to 49 states, five continents and four oceans.

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