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Expunging Your Illinois Criminal Record

Posted on in Expungements

dupage county expungement lawyerWhat many people do not realize is that if you are arrested or charged with a crime, a criminal record is automatically created even if the charges are later dropped. This can create problems later in life, especially with such common acts as applying for a job or trying to obtain credit. Sometimes, it may be possible to have your record expunged, which means that your previous charges or arrests can be erased. This is quite different from having your record sealed, which only blocks your criminal record from public view.

Do I Qualify for Expungement or Record Sealing?

Not everyone will be eligible to have his or her criminal record expunged. If you cannot, however, you may be able to have your record sealed. The criteria for having a criminal record expunged differ from state to state, but in Illinois, they are fairly straightforward. The most important point is that you must never have been convicted of a criminal offense or a municipal violation. If you have been, you will be automatically ineligible to expunge your record (with the rare exception of specific crimes committed by honorably discharged veterans).

If you are a juvenile, however, the procedure is different. You may not have juvenile records expunged until you turn 18 years old. Some State Police records may be automatically expunged if you meet these criteria: you were arrested within the past calendar year (expungements happen every calendar year) or detained by the State Police, no other charges have been filed against you, and at least six months have passed since your arrest. It is important to remember that even if the State Police records are expunged, there may remain proof of your crime with another legal or government agency.

If You Do Not Qualify

If you do not qualify to have your record expunged, you may still be able to have it sealed. While an expungement erases convictions, sealing a record renders your criminal record private, unable to be seen by the general public. There are some who can still view it, though. Some employers can view felony convictions because certain jobs require a history of "good moral character," such as working at schools or hospitals. Also, law enforcement agencies are still able to view any past charges against you, regardless of the seal.

Be advised that while the standard to seal a criminal record is less stringent than it is to expunge, specific criteria must still be met. Only certain crimes will permit the sealing of a record (or, rather, the absence of certain crimes). Additionally, if a particular period of time has not passed since your last criminal sentencing, usually three years, you must wait until the appropriate time to file your petition to seal.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Expungement Attorney

If you need to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, or you simply want to see if it might be possible, consult with a knowledgeable DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Located in Wheaton, Illinois, our firm serves clients throughout the area and has the experience to help suggest an appropriate path for you. Call our offices today at 630-871-1700 for a free consultation. 

Source:

https://www.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Crinminal%20Exp%20Guide/ExpungementSealingOverview.pdf

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