How Much Does An Expungement Cost
Compared With Not Having It Done
Information provided by Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Orlando - Statewide Service
Last Updated: April 7, 2015
I have been working with sealing and expunging criminal records since 1997. I keep all our costs to a minimum to provide the best service at the lowest price. I provide a service that, except for some initial paperwork, is completely handled by my office. This gives you the freedom to go on with your life knowing that your arrest record is being sealed or expunged properly.
Pre-Qualification Before You Pay Anything
Before we ask you for a legal fee we want to make sure you qualify to have your record sealed or expunged. By
qualifying we mean that the information we get from you and other sources meets the requirements to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.
You can find out if you qualify on our Do You Qualify page. It is to your benefit to know whether you qualify or not before you spend time and money on this. We make no guarantees that information we gather from any source is true and accurate.
How Much Is The Legal Fee To Expunge Criminal Record
Contact us for our current legal fee to seal or expunge your criminal record. We require half the legal fee to start the process. The final half is due upon receipt of the Certificate of Eligibility from FDLE.
It takes between 6 and 8 months to complete the process. Since it takes this long we offer the option to pay-as-you-go. If you want to pay all fees and costs up-front you can but you may want to consider the alternative.
Half The Legal Fee To Start
We ask for half our legal fee to get you started. This covers our costs to get your Certificate of Eligibility from F.D.L.E. We try to make sure you have qualified to have the certificate issued before you hire us but sometimes, despite all our efforts, the F.D.L.E. still tells us you do not qualify.
If this happens, don't panic. F.D.L.E. often times makes mistakes and we have gotten them to issue certificates even after they have first denied them. This is what is included in the initial fee. If we cannot get you your certificate you do not owe us anything more.
Half The Legal Fee To Petition The Court
Once you have obtained your Certificate of Eligibility we can then proceed to petition the court. This is when the final legal fee is due. At that point your case is ready to go before the court. Once we file it we must make sure no agency objects to your petition and if so address those objections at a hearing.
The time frame for getting this done is dependent on the court and the prosecutor. The court will usually give the prosecutor and all other parties thirty days to respond to your petition. Once the responses are received the court then decides if a hearing is necessary or if it will grant the petition without a hearing.
Hearings are rare but some judicial circuits have a requirement for a hearing even if there are no objections.
Is An Expungement Worth The Cost
Everyone who seeks an expungement usually asks themselves is it worth it. To determine if the expungement cost is worth it you have to consider what the benefits are after you have a criminal record expunged or sealed. I explain what should be considered on my The Benefits of Expunging Your Record page but you should remember that the cost to expunge or seal your record is a one time event. The benefits last forever.
How Much Are The Costs
There are several costs that you will be responsible for as the process unfolds. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement requires a $75 processing fee when we submit the paperwork for your certificate of eligibility. This must be in the form of a money order made out to F.D.L.E. for $75. We will let you know when this is due.
Notarization Costs and Fingerprint Costs
One of the first things that you will receive once you have hired us is a seal or expunge packet. This includes the three documents you need to have notarized and a fingerprint card that you must take to a law enforcement agency and have your fingerprints taken. The notarization costs and fingerprint costs you must pay for.
Court costs are typically paid after the court has granted the criminal record expungement or sealing. Some courts ask for a portion of this fee upon the filing of the petition. This typically costs between $60-$100. However, if you still owe money in the underlying case (court costs, restitution, fines) these will have to be paid before the court will grant the petition. It is also a great argument for the prosecutor to ask the court to deny your request. Finally, the court costs may be higher if the case involved co-defendants.
The court can grant your petition but until the Clerk is paid nothing will happen with your record. It will remain visible until all costs are satisfied.
If a hearing is required there is a cost for travel depending on how far the travel will be. Our main office is in Orlando, a fairly centralized location for Florida, so we can usually keep travel costs down. Don't forget, often times the court does not require a hearing.
The purpose of publishing this information is to help judges, attorneys and non-lawyers better understand this area of law. We appreciate any input that may further this goal.
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