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Criminal records expungement and sealing in Illinois

Getting convicted of a crime is one thing. Having that crime follow you for the rest of your life on your public criminal record is an entirely different thing altogether. Fortunately, though, for some criminal defendants, they can get their criminal record expunged or sealed.

When you have your record expunged or sealed, it means that certain information about past criminal events in your history will no longer be publicly viewable. This can be especially helpful to job applicants who would be subject to disqualification if they have a black mark on their criminal record.

Here's what Illinois law says about sealing and expungement

Illinois criminal law allows for qualifying criminal instances relating to arrests, probation and supervision to be expunged. Also, in some cases, individuals can seal criminal convictions and municipal ordinance violations, but they usually cannot be expunged.

Illinois law will only apply to criminal records maintained and/or prosecuted through the state of Illinois. As for other state records and federal records, they cannot be sealed or expunged via the Illinois court system.

Certain items will not qualify for expungement or sealing. These include:

  • Simple traffic tickets
  • Divorces
  • Orders of protection
  • Other civil matters
  • What about felony convictions?

Certain special felony probations like First Offender drug probation via the Cannabis Control Act, the Controlled Substances Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Control Act will qualify as convictions; therefore, they might be eligible for sealing and expungement.

What about juvenile case expungement?

In many circumstances, juvenile cases can be expunged. In fact, courts must be careful if they decide to exempt a juvenile case from expungement. As such, adults who are carrying juvenile crimes on their records may want to investigate the process of expunging said records and they could interfere their reputations and ability to obtain employment in the future.

Do you want to know if you can expunge your criminal record?

The process of expunging or sealing a criminal record is not as difficult as you might think. However, in some cases, an in-depth understanding of Illinois criminal law can help an individual succeed in his or her criminal expungement and sealing goals.

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