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Posted on 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.

Eligibility

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.

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expungement, sealing, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIf you have ever been arrested and fingerprinted in Illinois or any other state, you have an arrest record. Until it is expunged or sealed, the record is viewable to the public. Many clients come to us seeking help with reviewing their criminal record history and determining their eligibility for expungement or sealing. Such action can help many clients pursue and obtain employment, housing, and other privileges.

Expungement and Sealing in Illinois

The expungement or sealing of your criminal record does not happen automatically. Someone must petition the court for an order that directs the clerk’s office and law enforcement to destroy or seal the criminal records in question. While the Criminal Identification Act governs the process, each county has its own procedures that must be strictly followed or the petition may be denied on a procedural issue.

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Expunging your record means the physical records of your criminal history will be destroyed or returned to you and that your name will be removed from any official index or database.

Sealing your record means records will be physically and electronically maintained, but they will be unavailable to the public without a court order.  Your name will be removed from any official index or public record; however, law enforcement agencies and the courts will still have access to the records, as will a few employers and other entities allowed by law.

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