People make mistakes every day — it is human nature. Legal mistakes, however, can follow you for the rest of your life and affect the way you interact with the world. Depending on the nature of the crime that was committed and the age of the offender, some people with a criminal record may be eligible to expunge or seal their criminal records. This process removes or conceals any wrongdoings, but there are some cases where an old record can still be reached.
Many people who have committed a crime wish to remove the crime off of their record in an effort to distance themselves from a past mistake. If you are looking to remove a record, it is important to understand the difference between expunging a record and sealing a record. When a record is expunged, it is destroyed and your name is removed from public records and official files. If a record is sealed, it still exists, but it is not available to the general public. To determine if a criminal record can be sealed or expunged, a few factors have to be taken into consideration.
The nature of the crime — An important factor that is considered when determining if a crime is eligible to be expunged is the crime’s classification. You can expunge your arrest record, court provisions, and sometimes probation orders. However, if you were convicted of a crime and sentenced, you may be eligible to seal the crime, but not expunge your record.
The age the crime was committed — If the crime was committed when the offender was under the age of 18, the crime was not murder or a sex crime, and six months have elapsed without another arrest, the state of Illinois will automatically expunge the young adult’s record.
The processes of getting a record expunged or sealed are similar. The first step of removing the criminal record from your history is to submit an application. Each person’s case is individual to them, and so it is highly encouraged to hire a successful criminal defense lawyer who can help walk you through this tricky process. Most crimes in Illinois are eligible to be sealed. However, if your name was on a registry (Arsonist Registration, Sex Offender Registration, or the Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration), you must first successfully remove your name from the list. After that, most convictions will require you to wait between two to three years before the record can be fully sealed. To expunge your record, you also have to apply and then have a judge approve your request.
Even if your record was expunged or sealed, some people may still be able to view the record. If the record was expunged, the Department of Corrections and some law enforcement agencies may still have access to certain expunged records. Expunged records will not come up in background checks and can not be accessed by the general public.
If your record was sealed, it may still come up during a background check depending on the type of employer. Many employers will request a fingerprinting background check prior to employment. If the crime that was sealed was a felony, some employers including schools, government agencies or hospitals can see the record. Otherwise, no one has access to the record (including you) unless they successfully apply for a court order.
If you have more questions regarding how to get a record sealed or expunged, contact an Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney today. Here at Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law, we are available to help you understand the process of removing a criminal record. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 847-253-3400.
Client accused of burglary was acquitted due to our skillful cross examination of eye witness identification.
Client accused of causing the death of another while driving under the influence - Acquitted.
Client accused of first degree murder - Acquitted.
Client accused of embezzlement - Charges never filed.
Hundreds of Secretary of State hearings for Drivers License Reinstatement - Won.