Free Criminal Record Expungement Advice
September 1, 2014
Essential information that will help you find the best options for you, avoid scams, and make sure that your expunged records are actually removed from background check reports.
Finding The Right Expungement Law Firm for You
Expungement attorneys are trained in expungement law and know that getting your record expunged can have a lifelong affect on you. An expungement attorney will make sure the job is done right and that what may be your only chance is not blown. Make sure before you thoroughly research all your options.
Always ask these three critical questions:
1. ¬†Are you a law firm with licensed attorneys? Attorneys are licensed and regulated by the state. ¬†Only an attorney can represent you in court, file responses to district attorneys, or give legal advise. ¬†Having anyone but an attorney handle your expungement is like having anyone but a dentist fix your teeth.
2. Can you expedite the process of having the expunged record removed from background check companies?¬† ¬†Some attorneys will not instruct background check companies to stop reporting your expunged or sealed record (read more about this below). ¬†There are hundreds of background check companies: having their records updated with them is often the most important step. ¬†See the section below for more information.
Clearing your criminal record is a great investment in yourself and your future. ¬† Protect yourself and your investment by asking the 3 questions above.
Updating The Background Check Companies – The Critical Step
Expunging the record at the court is often just half of the battle.¬† Most employers and landlords use private background check companies.¬† Many background check companies only update their records once a year and the courts do not notify the background check companies about expunged cases. ¬†So, your expunged or sealed record may remain in a background check company’s system and continue to be reported to employers until the background check company eventually does its periodic update of court records. ¬†So, waiting for background check companies to update their records means that you may be left explaining to employers about what happened in your case and trying to explain that it was expunged‚ÄĒ which is kind of like trying to un-ring a bell after the the alarm has already sounded.
Make sure that you do not have to wait months or longer for your expunged record to be removed from private background check companies by making sure that you work with a law firm who goes beyond just clearing your record at the court, and actually clears it where it matters most, with the background check companies. ¬†Ask your attorney if he or she provides this service.
Avoiding Expungement Scams
The internet is a great way to find a qualified attorney (click here to see a list of recommended expungement attorneys) who can expunge or seal your criminal record at an affordable price.¬† You can even get free assistance from attorneys online or at the public defender‚Äôs office. Beware of scam sites posing as attorneys. They often call themselves ‚Äúdocument processors,‚ÄĚ ‚Äúparalegals,‚ÄĚ or a ‚Äúlegal service.‚ÄĚ¬† Do not allow non-attorneys to take your money, waste your time, access your confidential information, let you become a victim of identity theft, or blow what might be your only chance to clear your criminal record. ¬†¬†Tip: If you cannot find a street address on the web site or the only address listed is a PO Box, the chances are it is a scam.
If you cannot afford an attorney, seek help from the public defender or legal aid society. ¬†For expungement guides and information, we recommend visiting¬†this page¬†to have your expungement questions answered.