Category Archives: Expungement

expungementA criminal record can be the proverbial kiss of death for many aspirations and life options, and in Illinois, you will have a criminal record even if the charges against you are ultimately dropped. However, in certain situations, there is a way by which your record can be expunged. If you are able to do this, you may be able to avoid possible negative consequences in the future.

Procedures

Expungement proceedings are available to those who have (1) never been convicted of a criminal offense; (2) have had a conviction reversed, vacated, or pardoned by the governor; or (3) had their conviction recommended for expungement by the Prisoner Review Board. If you believe you are able to have your record expunged, there are specific procedures that must be followed, and they usually differ by county. One of the most commonly known is the waiting period - depending on the fact pattern, a person must wait anywhere between two and five years before filing to expunge an offense.

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Illinois juvenile crimes lawyer, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Adolescents are notorious for making decisions that they later come to regret. Unfortunately, when those decisions have legal repercussions, regret and reformation may not result in the individual getting a clean slate. Criminal records from prior years as a misbehaving teenager can have severe personal and professional consequences, even for rehabilitated one-time offenders. A new law, effective this year, works to limit the negative effects of juvenile records in employment and education by requiring that, if the case meets certain guidelines, the records be expunged.

The Law

The new law, which became effective at the beginning of the year, amends an older statute concerning the destruction of juvenile records. Previously, those with juvenile records could petition the court for expungement, or destruction, of the records only for certain lower-level misdemeanors. A petition could be made after the person turned 18, or when all juvenile court proceedings had ended, whichever was later.

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criminal sexual abuse, driving under the influence of drugs, dui, eligible for expungement, expungement, Illinois Compiled Statute, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois law, Illinois probation, Illinois State Police, qualifying arrests, sealing criminal records, skilled criminal law attorneyThe story is common: you do something stupid and illegal in your younger years and you get caught. You go to court, you are convicted, and your criminal record has the horrible black mark from your younger indiscretions for the rest of time.

There does happen to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Illinois law provides options for getting that dreaded black mark off of your record. Illinois Compiled Statute 20 ILCS 2630/0.01 et seq. allows for qualifying arrests, supervision, and probation to be expunged.

However, there are a few exceptions under this Illinois law. The primary exception is if you have previously been convicted of a crime you are likely ineligible to have your record expunged, but you may still be eligible under the law for sealing criminal records, regardless of the outcome of the case. Nevertheless, it is important to note that only criminal records prosecuted and maintained by the state of Illinois are eligible for expungement or sealing; federal and out of state convictions cannot be sealed or expunged under the Illinois statute.

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expungement, clean record, sealed record, misdemeanor, felony, Illinois lawyerAny criminal charge--even a misdemeanor--on a person’s record, can have a highly detrimental effects on their ability to get a job, receive special licenses, qualify for certain loans, or otherwise enjoy important life opportunities. People frequently have to live with the consequences of actions that took places many years (or even decades) ago because they remain on their public record.

Fortunately, in Illinois and many other states, it is possible to have your criminal history expunged or sealed. Though many think that both processes are the same, there are some very important difference between the two.

Expungement v. Sealing in Illinois

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In a perfect world, the push of just one button would allow us to erase our past mistakes. Unfortunately that is not the case in the world we live in. However, if your criminal record is affecting your ability to rent a home or land a job, you can turn to expungement or sealing your criminal record. While not erasing your past, these two acts can make life much easier. criminal record expungement IMAGEExpungement legally refers to the process of having your records be destroyed or returned. Essentially, once an arrest or supervision has been expunged, it does not have to be shared with potential employers or landlords. Not all crimes qualify for expungement, however, and the individual must petition the court in order for an expungement to be granted. Expunged records are destroyed or returned to the petitioner. Agencies will destroy their records and remove all mention of your name from the public record. “Sealing” your record involves a court procedure that (hopefully) results in the sealing of any past court and police records. Records are put “under seal” and are no longer accessible to employers or the general public. Only law enforcement officials are able to view the records. The steps for getting your record sealed are essentially the same as those for expungement. Getting your record sealed or expunged does not happen overnight. Once you have filed your petition, the State has 60 days to object. The length of time the case will take will also depend on the size of the jurisdiction you are in. Sometimes, even though your petition is approved, it may take up to 60 days for law enforcement agencies to process the changes. It is important to recognize that the majority of felony convictions cannot be expunged from a record, but many are eligible to be sealed. If you are interested in filing a petition for the expungement or sealing of your records, be sure to contact an Illinois criminal attorney to answer any questions you may have and assist you with the process.  

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