Having a criminal record can damage a person’s employment prospects and other areas of life. As such, many people with criminal records choose to have their records expunged. This essentially wipes the slate clean, giving them a fresh start.
However, the expungement process can be difficult to navigate. If you want to clear your records, you’ll want to hire the best expungement lawyer in South Dakota. And on this page, we help point you in the right direction.
What Is an Expungement Lawyer?
South Dakota expungement lawyers are legal professionals that specialize knowledge in the expungement process. This is the legal process used to erase criminal records to give the previous criminal a fresh start in life. Within their area of practice, expungement attorneys can also help to seal criminal records from the public. They keep up to date on all current legislation and offer legal advice for people with previous offenses.
What Does an Expungement Attorney Do?
The primary role of a lawyer for expungement in South Dakota is to help clear their clients’ criminal records. This is usually only available for juvenile offenses or misdemeanors. Since felony crimes are more serious, they’re less likely to be removed from the record. When expungement isn’t possible, attorneys will look at sealing criminal records from public view instead. In both cases, this will have positive impacts on their clients’ future prospects.
Expungement attorneys will also use their understanding of criminal law to offer legal advice to their clients and determine the best course of action. This largely depends on the type of offense in question, whether or not it is the first offense, and other important factors.
When to Hire an Expungement Lawyer in South Dakota?
If you have a previous criminal record that you want to clear, it may be worth contacting a South Dakota expungement attorney. However, bear in mind that clearing your criminal record might not be an option for everyone. In most states, expungement is available only if:
You have completed your original sentence given as part of your conviction.
You are not facing any new or additional criminal charges.
The offense in question is a juvenile offense or a misdemeanor crime.
With that being said, each state in the U.S. has its own state law regarding the expungement process. Therefore, it is worthwhile contacting a lawyer for expungement in South Dakota. By speaking with a professional well-versed in local and state laws, you can get the best advice based on your jurisdiction. When expungement isn’t an option, they can also discuss sealing records and other avenues that give you a new chapter.
How Do I Choose an Expungement Attorney in South Dakota?
You will want to hire the best expungement lawyer in South Dakota possible. This will ensure you get accurate legal advice and are more likely to successfully have your records cleared. Below are some considerations to think about when comparing law firms so you end up with the right lawyer working on your case:
Does the law firm specialize in expungement law and the legal process for clearing criminal records?
Is the company familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction?
Does the firm have experience working on criminal offenses and arrest histories similar to yours?
Do they have a good track record of success in handling such legal issues?
What are the legal fees, and are these within your price range?
Which methods of communication does the law firm use? Does this match your preferences?
How Much Does the Average Expungement Lawyer Cost in South Dakota?
The cost of a South Dakota expungement lawyer varies substantially between law firms. More experienced and specialized firms will typically charge more. The price also depends on the type of offense in question, and whether your attorney will be wiping a single criminal charge from your record or multiple offenses. This means legal fees can cost as little as $400 but have the potential to rise to $10,000+, depending on the firm and the offense.
On top of legal fees for a South Dakota expungement attorney, you will also have to pay for court processing and filing fees. These will usually come to around $700, depending on your location. You have to pay these whether you choose to hire an expungement lawyer or navigate the process yourself.
Do Expungement Lawyers Usually Charge for Consultations?
The majority of South Dakota expungement lawyers will not charge for consultations. The initial meeting will be more to discuss whether clearing your criminal record is an option and to work out whether you’re both compatible working together. With that being said, some firms will charge for consultations. Check with the law firm before booking an initial appointment to make sure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between expunging your record and sealing your record?
An expunged criminal record is as if the criminal charges never happened. You will no longer have a criminal history and can move on with your life. In comparison, sealed records still exist, and the charges don’t vanish as they do with expunged records. The general public simply cannot access the records.
Can you expunge a felony conviction from your criminal record?
This depends on your jurisdiction. Some states do not allow expungement for any felony crimes, but others have a list of felonies that are eligible. This is why it is vital to hire a South Dakota expungement lawyer who knows local and state laws inside out.
Can you expunge a juvenile record?
Yes, you can expunge a juvenile record. In many states, all juvenile records are automatically expunged once enough time has passed after the offense. Other states require you to file for juvenile expungement with the courts and go through the usual process.