Most people in the Seattle-Tacoma region who get their criminal records expunged find more and better job opportunities. It usually does not take long before their income and quality of life have gotten much better. More money in the bank can mean a nicer vehicle and a better place to live for yourself and your family.
At the same time, the expungement process is not free in Washington State. Every case is different, but between attorneys’ fees and court filing costs, you might have to pay a few thousand dollars.
An investment in yourself
For many people, this can seem like more than they can afford. It’s an understandable reaction, but if you think of this as an investment in your future instead of an expense, the cost might feel more manageable. Still, it’s an unavoidable fact that some people who would benefit from an expungement cannot afford to go to court to ask for one.
This problem affects Americans nationwide. Legislatures in some states are trying to make expungement more affordable. For example, in Utah, a pilot program lets eligible residents file for expungement at no cost except for a $65 filing fee. However, it seems that eligibility is limited for that program.
The difference an attorney can make
It can be tempting to save money by not hiring a lawyer and applying for an expungement yourself. But it likely won’t work. One estimate states that 75 percent of people who try to get an expungement on their own do not complete the process, which can be very confusing and require a lot of paperwork. A mistake can cause delays or even force you to start from scratch. An experienced attorney will avoid those errors and get your filing done much sooner.