Monday, September 9, 2013

Expungements in Kentucky: Get a Lawyer or Do it Myself?

Can I do an expungement by myself?

Absolutely.  You can represent yourself for an expungement.  You can also represent yourself in your own divorce.  And if you get caught committing a crime, you can represent yourself in those proceedings.  Also – if you break your leg, you can try to set it and make a splint for yourself.  But all of these things are terrible ideas.

There are internet sites out there that offer expungement advice, paperwork, etc.  Legal assistance websites are abundant.  Some sites offer to give you what you need to draft wills, and some will give you the tools to perform your own uncontested divorce.  The problem with a lot of these sites is this:  Those sites are run by some people in California.  Or Michigan.  Or wherever.  And inherently, that is not good for you, as a Kentuckian, trying to get legal work done.

The laws are different in different states.  That’s why each state has a different bar exam for lawyers.  And as a lawyer, you have to get licensed to practice in each state you do business in.

So don’t get forms from Michigan or wherever, and expect to use them in Kentucky.  In fact, don’t get forms in Kentucky and expect to use them in Kentucky.  Let me explain that little tidbit…

In Kentucky, you don’t do an expungement the same way in every County.  Each County has its own little nuances.  In Jefferson County, there is an entire office dedicated to expungements.  That’s very unusual for Kentucky.  Some District Court Judges want you to send expungement petitions to them.  Some don’t.  Some District Court Clerks will automatically give you a court date when you file a petition.  Some won’t – and some require that the County Attorney be given notice before a court date is set.

See where I’m going with this?

The lawyers who run that website in Michigan or New York City or wherever, don’t know the difference between filing an expungement petition in Louisville versus Elizabethtown, or Lexington, etc.

And that’s just one reason not to get online legal advice, or perform your own legal services.

There are many others.  Not the least of which is that lawyers go to law school.  And people who aren’t lawyers did not.  There’s a reason we go to school for 3 years.  If performing legal work were as simple as just filing in the blanks on a form we found online, there wouldn’t be lawyers.  There are snags.  Problems arise and we need to fix them.

For example, with expungements – what if you have a speeding ticket on your record?  How will that affect the charge you want to expunge?  What if the District Court Clerk says you need additional paperwork (like that criminal record check you didn’t know you were supposed to file simultaneously)?  What if you have a question about the time of filing?  Is it 60 days?  2 years?  5 years?  (the answer is “yes” to all three of those questions, based on different circumstances).

Getting a lawyer to do an expungement is not expensive.  It’s one of the cheapest legal services you will find.  It doesn’t take long to do, and it can be an extremely beneficial process.  After all, what if you apply for a new job and they do a criminal background check?  What if you were to get a new charge, and they hold the old conviction against you for the new offense?

My point is this:  Get a lawyer to do your expungement.  If you don’t get me, get someone else.

Nevermind – get me.  I’m really good at that stuff.

If you have any more questions about expungements, my door is always open.  Come see me or call me at 502.618.4949. 

Questions answered in this blog post:  Can I do an expungement by myself; what is an exponge espongement expongement expungment; how do I get something expunged in Kentucky; can I get a free expungment online form; do I need a lawyer for an expungement in Kentucky?

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