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Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney expungement

If you have been convicted of a crime in Illinois, your life can change in many ways. Even if your offense was a non-violent or minor act, you will still have a criminal record that will appear on background checks. This can make it difficult to secure housing or even obtain employment. Unfortunately, an arrest or a criminal charge can also create a criminal record, even if you were not convicted or charges were not pursued. Because of this, the state of Illinois has created the process of expungement to have your criminal record cleared, essentially giving you a fresh start in the eyes of the law. Another option is sealing a record, which hides it from certain people, although it still exists. Read on to learn more about the difference between these two legal actions. 

Options For Clearing Your Record

In Illinois, there are two ways you can clear your record -- expungement or sealing. The process that you go through typically depends on the type of record you are trying to clear and its eligibility. Certain offenses and dispositions are not eligible for expungement but are eligible for sealing. The process of pursuing an expungement or sealing your criminal records is nearly identical, although the outcome is different.

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Rolling Meadows, IL expungement lawyer

Having a criminal record can make impact your life negatively in many ways. It can be much more difficult to rent a house or apartment, pass a background check for potential employment, or even obtain a loan or mortgage. You do not even have to be convicted of a crime to have a criminal record; if you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime, you have a criminal record. These records are public, meaning anyone who wants to see your record can, including friends and family. Fortunately, you have options when it comes to clearing your criminal record in Illinois.

Expungement Versus Sealing

There are two main ways you can clear your criminal record in Illinois: through expungement or sealing. Although both methods are similar to each other, they do not produce the same exact result. Expungement results in your criminal records either being returned to you or being destroyed. This makes it as if you never had a criminal record at all and does not allow the police, government, or the public to view these records. If you seal your record, they are hidden from the public, but they are not erased. This means your records will still be visible to the government and to law enforcement.

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Arlington Heights Drug Crimes Lawyer

In recent years, many cities and states have initiated the clearing of marijuana-related charges and convictions from the records of thousands of people. For example, San Francisco is currently in the process of clearing all misdemeanor marijuana convictions dating back to 1975 and will also wipe arrest records of all those arrested on related charges. 

Illinois may soon follow suit with a similar law that will clear low-level marijuana convictions with the permission of a judge.

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IL defense lawyerYou do not have to be convicted of a crime to have a criminal record - if you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you have a criminal record. Criminal records are public, meaning that anybody can see them, including friends, family, and employers. If you meet certain criteria, you can have your record expunged or sealed, meaning your slate could potentially be cleansed.

Expungement vs. Sealing

Though the processes to get your records expunged or sealed are very similar, they are not the same. Expungement is when your criminal record is either destroyed or returned to you, almost as if the events in the record never happened. The public nor police or the government can see anything on your record. Sealing is the process of hiding your record from the public but does not erase your record completely.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-23_20171215-045512_1.jpgHaving a conviction or even an arrest on your record can make it difficult to get a good job, obtain a loan or rent an apartment. However, under the right circumstances and with the right help, it is possible to have your record expunged, which allows a person to live life without having past mistakes hold them back.

Do You Qualify?   

The first thing a person should know is that the state of Illinois does not offer record expungement of all offenses or convictions. Unfortunately, there are some things that will follow you throughout life regardless of how long ago they occurred. So what are some of the details that might impact one’s ability to seek and obtain destruction of past criminal records?

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