WARNING! Many people trying to clear their record get scammed by using a non-attorney to expunge or seal their record. Do not waste your money, give your confidential information, or blow, what may be your only chance to clear your record by taking legal advice from anyone other than a licensed attorney.
This article will provide you with important free information that will help you find the best options for you, give you tips to avoid scams, and information about having your expunged record removed from background check companies.
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.
Signs That The Site May Be A Scam:
- They are not licensed to practice law in your state, or they do not have an office in your state
- It is a “paralegal” or “form processor” that is giving you advice.
- The operation is run out of a PO Box
- They are just going to send you forms and then leave you alone to fight the District Attorney, answer questions from the court, put together evidence, and pay all filing fees.
FINDING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY 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, what may be your only chance, is not blown. An expungement attorney can handle objections from the District Attorney and go to court on your behalf to answer questions from the judge. Make sure before you attempt your expungement, you thoroughly research all your options. For expungement guides and information, we recommend visiting this page to have your expungement questions answered.
When choosing an attorney, always ask these three critical questions:
1. ¬†Are you a licensed attorney? 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 informaiton.
Clearing your criminal record is a great investment in yourself and your future. ¬† Protect yourself and your investment by asking the 3 questions above. ¬†If you cannot afford an attorney, seek help from the public defender or legal aid society.
REMOVING THE EXPUNGED RECORD FROM BACKGROUND CHECK COMPANIES
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.¬† So, your expunged or sealed record may remain in their system and continued to be reported until the company does its annual update.¬† That is unless you or your attorney proactively instruct the background check companies to update their records. ¬† Ask your attorney if he or she provides this service.
Visit our¬†choosing an expungement attorney¬†page for a list of recommended attorneys.