CLEAR YOUR RECORD: ILLINOIS EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY
If you meet certain eligibility requirements, you may be able to get your criminal record expunged and attain a clean start. Your criminal record includes court records about your criminal case’s outcome and police records about your arrest. Criminal records are accessible to the public, which includes potential employers, landlords, and academic admissions counselors.
CAN I EXPUNGE MY CRIMINAL RECORD?
Questions about expungement are understandably common. When anyone with a past conviction hears of the possibility of having the records erased, the first instinct is to find out if their situation qualifies. A criminal record can permanently disqualify you from many types of employment and can also interfere with the ability to get approval for student loans or certain housing. A finding of guilty, even if not resulting in a conviction, could also negatively affect your chance to work in certain vocations, like law enforcement or teaching.
We all deserve a second chance to move past our mistakes, and expunging your old case or cases is the best way to do that. Upon a successful expungement, all records of the arrest are destroyed, including police reports, fingerprints and booking photos. Your name and case number are erased from the circuit clerk’s office database as well. The general public and even law enforcement will be unable to view your case after it is expunged.
It is important to note that you may only file to expunge cases prosecuted in the State of Illinois. Federal and out-of-state cases cannot be expunged or sealed through the process in Illinois.
Cases that may qualify for expungement include:
- First Offender Probation for felony Possession of Cannabis / Controlled Substances
- TASC Probation for certain felony cases
- Misdemeanor cases where you received court supervision
- Cases that concluded in charges being dismissed
- Cases that concluded with a “not guilty” verdict
Illinois 2014 Expungement Law also expands to certain Class 4 felony drug offenses and Class 3 or 4 theft, retail theft, or charges of criminal damage to property. Individuals facing these charges can now receive special probation that, if completed successfully, can lead to the case being expungement.
THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS
To receive an expungement, you must petition the court. Once the court decides to remove your arrest and criminal record, you will never have to disclose your prior arrest because it will no longer be part of the public record. While you cannot get misdemeanor and felony convictions expunged, you can get some of them sealed. This means that only law enforcement personnel can see your record.
The expungement process begins when you file a complete and accurate petition and filing fee with the county court in which your criminal case took place. After you file, prosecutors have 60 days to object to an expungement based on a variety of reasons. If the state objects, you can have a hearing during which your attorney challenges the basis for the objection and presents facts and arguments why you should qualify for the expungement. If your expungement is granted by the judge, it can take up to 60 days for law enforcement agencies to process the expungement and destroy records of your arrests, charges, and convictions.
If you have a strong petition for an expungement and are still denied, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision. You can either petition for the judge to reconsider or for the Appellate Court to review the lower judge’s denial. In these situations, it is essential to have an experienced lawyer as appeals can be extraordinarily complicated.
The Benefits of Obtaining an Expungement
As mentioned above, an arrest record or criminal conviction can affect your life in many different ways. Having your record expunged or sealed can provide many benefits for you, including:
- Current or potential employers will not be able to see that you had a criminal case, so they will not use that information in making hiring decisions. In addition, if asked on a job application if you have been convicted of a crime, you can honestly answer “no” post-expungement.
- If your conviction prevented you from working in certain positions or industries, you will again be eligible for those jobs after an expungement.
- Landlords will not have access to any information about arrests or convictions and, therefore, will likely not deny you from renting housing based on concerns about criminal activity.
- You will not have to disclose your arrest or conviction on certain applications for higher education programs or professional licenses. If you had a drug-related offense expunged, you may now qualify for federal financial aid for school or public benefits.
These are only some of the many benefits that can come from clearing your name. It is always worth it to look into the possibility of an expungement if your record is holding you back or otherwise affecting your life.
Remember that you do not have to have a conviction to seek an expungement. An arrest may be enough to limit your opportunities. Expunging your arrest record can help just as much as expunging a conviction in some situations. If you were falsely arrested, you may expect that your arrest will be automatically expunged. Unfortunately, this is not the case, even if authorities admitted the arrest was a mistake. You will still have to proactively seek an expungement to clear your record.
There is no requirement that you have a defense attorney’s help to apply for an expungement. However, the process and requirements can be confusing and your chances of obtaining an expungement may often increase with the assistance of the right criminal defense law firm.
OBTAIN TRUSTED LEGAL HELP TODAY!
Clearing your record demands an acute attention to detail. First you must make sure that you are eligible to have your record expunged and next you must make sure you file all paperwork properly. If you fail to file the necessary paperwork, you could waste valuable time and money. Since only certain types of records and cases can be expunged, it is imperative that you speak with our DuPage County criminal defense attorneys today about the details surrounding your case.
After we have evaluated your situation, our legal team will be able to explain to you all of your options. Call Martin & Kent, L.L.C., for a free consultation today at (630) 474-8000!
RELATED PRACTICE TOPIC
A Wheaton client who was arrested for domestic battery got her case dismissed for lack of prosecution. The arrest expungement was immediately filed by M&K lawyers.Case Results