A Mistake-Free Future?

 Posted on November 10,2015 in Expungement

expungement, record sealing, Illinois criminal defense attorneyFor millions of people, the sting of a criminal conviction lasts far beyond the period of incarceration or probation. A tainted record creates a multitude of hurdles in many situations, such as finding a job, finding a place to live, pursuing certain professional occupations, voting in elections, and carrying a firearm. Fortunately, because of some updates that took effect this year, Illinois has one of the more liberal expungement laws in the country, meaning that more people can put their pasts behind them and move on with their lives.


The Criminal Identification Act is essentially designed to effectively rehabilitate first-time offenders. So, in most cases, persons with prior convictions are ineligible for expungement. That being said, some veterans who were convicted of some Class 3 or Class 4 felonies may be eligible.

When considering an expungement petition, the courts also examine the case disposition in addition to the petitioner’s status. Some states only allow expungement in narrow circumstances, but in Illinois, the eligible dispositions are:

  • Not Guilty: Bear in mind that "not guilty" and "innocent" are not the same thing; not guilty simply means that the state did not present enough evidence to obtain a conviction.
  • Lack of Probable Cause: The specific dispositions are SOL (stricken with leave), FNPC (finding of no probable cause), and NP (nolle prosequi).
  • No Charges Filed: This often occurs when the police arrest and individual but a reviewing prosecutor determines there is not enough evidence to convict the person; for example, a person may be arrested for DUI after a car crash and there is no witness who can testify that the defendant was driving the car.

Moreover, it is possible to expunge some convictions even if the person pleaded guilty or was found guilty at trial, after five years have passed from the date of release or discharge.


This procedure, which is often available if the petitioner has a criminal record, has basically the same effect as expungement. Only courts, law enforcement, and some government agencies have access to the conviction files. So, successful petitioners who are later asked whether or not they have ever been convicted of a crime can truthfully answer "no," in most cases.

Expungement and sealing truly does offer a second chance to many people. For prompt assistance in this area, contact Scott F. Anderson, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights, at 847-253-3400. Convenient payment plans are available.



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