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Can someone file an expunction themselves?

Houston, TX |

If so what are the steps, if not how much do lawyers charge for this process so I can get a rough estimate

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Attorney answers 5


In my opinion it is always better to seek the assistance of a local criminal attorney to make sure it is done properly. Contact a few attorneys to compare their price & experience - many listed on Avvo do not charge a fee for consultations. You may be suprise that their fee is not as large as you imagine. Good luck

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


The answer is yes, but it is probably not something you want to try. You would need to locate all the statutes that control the issue and then carefully draft all your paperwork...which includes the petition as well as the order you want the judge to sign. And without having a lawyer look at it you'd never know if you missed anything important or necessary. I'm not sure what your time is worth, but I'd wager that the roughly $1,500 you would pay a local lawyer to do this would be money well spent in the long run.

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You can try to do it yourself but if you make a mistake, it may not be able to be undone. I would not attempt to perform this very important procedure myself. As for fees, they will vary widely. You just need to call a few attorneys in your area for quotes.

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I handled a lot of expunctions as a prosecutor and can tell you from that end of things that pro se expunction attempts just do not go well. There are too many things involved for someone who's not an attorney to have much chance of figuring out, between the statutory issues, and the procedural steps involved, and just trying to figure out how to deal with the other people involved, all of whom are used to dealing with attorneys and who in a lot of cases, really CAN'T tell you what you're supposed to do. The court costs by themselves are likely to run somewhere around $350 for an expunction (it varies, I think my last one was $376). Attorney fees vary quite a bit, and you'd have to call around to find out all your options on that, but be aware that most criminal defense attorneys really don't handle expunctions (they have to be filed as separate civil cases and there's definitely a learning curve to the whole process). If you'd like to contact me, I'll be happy to discuss with you my price, your eligibility for an expunction, and any other questions you might have.


Yes they can. As a former prosecutor with the Harris County District Attorney's Office for over six years I can tell you that the first step is determining if your case can be sealed. A lawyer cannot tell you what the steps are without being retained because this would violate our ethical rules. You can look on the clerk's website for help. As far as hiring an attorney, the rates vary. Most attorneys will quote you a fee and you can decide if that is acceptable to you or not. You can shop around and find an attorney that suits you and you trust. Many attorneys, including myself, offer free consultations.

Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice has not been given. Also, this question and answer is posted on a public forum and therefore any attorney-privilege is waived.

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