HOW DOES THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS WORK IN KANSAS?
Most people, when they want to get an expungement, call a lawyer. The lawyer will look at their case and determine whether they have met the statutory requirements. If they have met the statutory requirements, then the lawyer will generally talk to them about their current course of action or the things that are going on with them right now and why they want to get an expungement. The lawyer will also ask about their recent criminal history. Then, if the lawyer feels they have a good shot, he will file a petition for expungement.
Certain information needs to be in that petition that is in the person’s criminal case file. So usually the lawyer is going to request the case file and pull that specific information out that has to be in the petition. The lawyer will then file the petition with the court in which the person was convicted, whether that was a municipal court or a district court. In a district court case, the lawyer will have to pay a $195 filing fee; municipal courts vary anywhere from $100 to $200 for the filing fee on the petition. The lawyer will also draft a proposed order. That way, if the judge sees fit to sign off on the expungment, there’ll be something to sign.
Specific language needs to be in that order. After the attorney drafts then files the petition and order, the lawyer will provide both to the city attorney or the county attorney, depending on the court. Then basically, it’s a waiting game. If the city or county attorney feels it’s in the interest of justice or wants to support the petition, they will just sign it, and then that will go to the judge. Generally, if both parties, your lawyer and the city or county attorney, feel the expungement is in the interest of justice and the petitioner has met the qualifications, then the judge will generally just sign it.
If the city or county attorney doesn’t feel the expungement is in the interest of justice or doesn’t believe that the individual statutorily qualifies, then the city or county attorney will file a response to the petition, basically saying why they don’t feel this person should get the expungement. Then there will be a hearing. Your lawyer will schedule a hearing where you both will go to the court and talk to the judge about why you think that you should have the expungement granted. Then, the opposition, whether it’s the city or county attorney, will get to say why they think that you shouldn’t get it.
The judge generally will make a decision right then; and if the judge grants your petition, he or she will sign the order, which will get filed with the district or municipal court. Then the municipal or district court, depending on where you filed the case, will send a notice to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and any law enforcement agency that has a record of your offense and tell them that the expungement has been granted and to take the records down.
Once that’s been taken care of and they’ve got that order sent to the requisite agencies, then it’s just a little bit of a waiting game. It usually takes a couple of weeks before your record officially comes down.
Do People Ever Try & Get An Expungement Without An Attorney?Sure. You don’t have to have a lawyer to do this. It is generally easier and you will have a better result with a lawyer most of the time. But you don’t have to hire a lawyer to do a lot of things in Kansas, so you can try to handle it yourself. Simillarly, you can probably cut your own hair, but you’re generally going to get a better result if you have a person that’s a professional at cutting hair. The same thing goes with a lawyer. You might be able to fumble through it; but if you get a specialist whose job is to work the legal system, then they’re probably going to get a better result.