Do it yourself expungement carries risk. In fact, many people who have asked the court to expunge their juvenile record recommend that persons who are in a similar position seek the help of a lawyer. However, some individuals choose to exercise their right to represent themselves in court. They will increase their chances of success if they get to know the system thoroughly and become familiar with the terms that will be used in court.
People apply for juvenile record expungements because they want a fresh start in life. Usually, people make foolish mistakes in their youth. Expungement allows the court to examine each person’s circumstances and make a decision as to whether all the files related to their case should be sealed. In effect, it will be as though the litigant had never had a criminal record.
An application for expungement may be filed by the individual who is affected. It may also b filed by their parents, if they are still under age. In that case, the expungement would become effective when the litigant reaches the age of 21. A judge will make the decision about whether the records will be expunged.
Do it Yourself Expungement: Legal Assistance
Help is available for people who decide to go the route of representing themselves. Legal assistance is provided in most states in America. Pamphlets are available which outline the procedure and describe the legal terms that will be used. For example, in New Jersey these materials are prepared by the administrative office of the courts.
If you are filing a Petition for Expungement, this must be done in the Superior Court in the area where the prosecution took place. You can get all the necessary forms at the courthouse. Litigants are responsible for ensuring that these forms are completed properly. They are also responsible for keeping copies of all the documents that relate to their case. For example, they must keep pictures, letters and other paperwork.
Do it Yourself Expungement: Legal Aid
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can contact legal aid for assistance. They will be willing to help you without charge if you qualify. If you do not qualify, check with the bar association in the area where you live. They can help you to find lawyers who may be willing to handle your case and charge you less than the usual fee.
If a litigant is representing themselves, the court staff can assist with information about court deadlines, completing forms and even show you examples of court forms. They will be able to give you information from your case file, explain how the court works and tell you what is required if you case is to be heard.