Do I Need to Disclose my Criminal Record?

Naperville criminal defense lawyer, criminal background check, criminal record, expungement, expungement lawsWhen you have an arrest or conviction on your criminal record, the thought of having to disclose the details about the arrest or conviction can be mortifying. With casual acquaintances, you can choose not to answer questions about your criminal past — although information about your criminal record is publicly available, most people will not take the time to seek yours out. Whether you should be honest about your criminal record with friends and acquaintances or not is your personal choice. 

When it comes to interactions with your employer, a prospective landlord, a college or university to which you are seeking admission, or even a reality show you would like to appear on, the rules are a bit different.

In Illinois, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act makes it illegal for employers to ask about applicants’ criminal records until later stages in the hiring process, which means you cannot be required to check a box related to your criminal history on a job application. If you are concerned about how your criminal record can impact your opportunities, consider seeking an expungement. 

A Prospective Employer May Run a Criminal Background Check 

Although Illinois passed a “ban the box” law that prohibits employers from asking about applicants’ criminal records on their job applications, an employer may conduct a criminal background check later in the hiring process. An employer may not run a criminal background check without the applicant’s consent.

You are not required to discuss any arrests that did not lead to conviction or any arrests that have been expunged from your record.

Your Criminal Record and your Housing Opportunities 

Although the Fair Housing Act does not prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to individuals with criminal records, in some cases it can be argued that a blanket prohibition on apartment applicants with criminal records is a form of discrimination. 

Private landlords and public housing communities may run criminal background checks on applicants. In order to do so, they must obtain an applicant’s consent to run the check. Public housing landlords must also present applicants with copies of their background check results so they can verify their accuracy. 

Criminal Records and College Admissions 

If The Criminal History in College Applications Act is passed, public colleges and universities in Illinois will be prohibited from asking about applicants’ past arrests and convictions on applications, much like the state’s ban the box law required that this question be taken off job applications. But as of June 2018, it is waiting to be read in the state senate. Currently, applicants must disclose their criminal records to colleges and universities.

Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Lawyer

An experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyer can help you pursue an expungement for your criminal record. This can help you reenter the workforce and stop living with the stigma of having a criminal record. To learn more, contact our team at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.