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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Legal > Expungement

Expungement Cost

How Much Does Expungement Cost?

low costLow: Starts Around $400-$1,000high costHigh: Can Run $1,000-$4,000+
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A criminal record can hurt your eligibility for student loans or housing assistance, and can bar you from some types of professional licenses or certificates. Expungement[1] is the process of asking the court to destroy a specific record.

Typical costs:

  • Hiring an attorney to handle an expungement starts around $400-$1,000 for a single criminal charge but can run $1,000-$4,000 or more depending on the number and nature (misdemeanor or felony) of the charges, prevailing local legal rates and the status and experience of the attorney. Court costs and filing fees can add another $100-$400 or more, depending on location and how much other paperwork or research is needed.
  • It's possible to handle the expungement process yourself, but it's important to be sure every phase is completed correctly.
Related articles: DUI Attorney, Drug Defense Attorney, Felony Defense Attorney

What should be included:
  • Expungement[2] is intended to help people (particularly those who were not convicted or successfully completed probation) who have made past mistakes but are now law-abiding; the goal is to help them keep their life on track by freeing them from the burden of a criminal record. Generally, expungement destroys the records, while officially "sealing" them makes them inaccessible (they don't show up on a routine background check) except in specific circumstances. FindLaw, a service of Thomson Reuters, provides a state-by-state guide to the expungement process[3] .
  • Typically you will need to obtain a copy of your record where you were arrested and charged, to see exactly what is listed. You then file a formal petition for expungement of each specific charge. provides an explanation of the expungement process[4] ; remember that the details will vary in other jurisdictions.
  • If you can't afford an attorney, call the Legal Aid office[5] in the area where you were convicted to see if you are eligible for free or reduced-rate legal help. Some, but not all, legal aid offices provide help with expungements, according to Western Michigan Legal Services[6]
Shopping for expungement:
  • When first contacting a lawyer, try to have as many details about your situation as possible. Be sure you understand whether the attorney charges a flat fee no matter how much time is involved, or an hourly fee that could mount up if the case becomes complicated. The State Bar of Georgia provides a pamphlet on how to choose a lawyer.
  • The American Bar Association links to lawyer referral services by state[7] . You can also search for attorneys through the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network's Lawyer Locator[8] .
  • Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Be sure you understand what is covered, and any other fees and expenses you might have to pay.
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments
shoplifting at Walmart
Amount: $0.00 Total
Posted by: L.Smith in Phenix City, AL.Posted: June 22nd, 2015 07:06AM
Firm: none yet
First time offense. Need help getting it off record.
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Possession of marijuana
Amount: $35.00 Total
Posted by: Seymour in Baltimore, MD.Posted: June 21st, 2015 11:06AM
Firm: Court house
About 6 month it was expunged got a full pardon first July 2 2013
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it was quick and easy
Amount: $35.00 Total
Posted by: Helen F in baltimore, MD.Posted: February 23rd, 2015 08:02AM
Firm: myself
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DUI Expungement
Amount: $25.00 Total
Posted by: S. Smith in Visalia, CA.Posted: July 13th, 2013 05:07AM
Firm: none
I had 3 DUIs. I had completed all the DUI schooling and paid for it, all my fines were paid and I was no longer on probation. I called each Court's Clerk and asked about forms to have my cases expunged. (I kept ALL my paperwork from these DUIs). The Clerks sent me the information I needed. I completed the forms, and sent them back to the Courts. Only one Court made me
appear in person. One Court charged me $25.00 for the paperwork. I received the official expungement papers in the mail from each Court. You do NOT need an expensive attorney for a DUI expungement.
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Amount: $1,000.00 Total
Posted by: Paralegal in houston, TX.Posted: July 24th, 2012 11:07AM
Are all of you sure you got an expungement, what you paid does not even cover the filing fee. You may want to check your record via web or local police department.
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shoplifting/ misdemennor marijuana charge
Amount: $250.00 Total
Posted by: Big Dummy in louisville, KY.Posted: June 16th, 2012 07:06PM
Did I spend too much?
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Amount: $35.00 Total
Posted by: Kelly Hill in Clinton, .Posted: September 23rd, 2011 07:09AM
Wow thats crazy! An expungement in Maryland is only $35
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Amount: $1,000.00 Total
Posted by: Terrance Smith in Laurinburg, NC.Posted: April 8th, 2010 03:04PM
Firm: dee
Need help been 7 years and have obtain my degree and looking for employment and need record expungement.
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