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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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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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criminal record, Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneyAccording to international statistics, the United States leads the rest of the world in arrests and incarcerations. In the past 40 years, the number of people in this country who are in jails, state correctional facilities, and federal prisons has increased fivefold. There are currently over two million Americans who are incarcerated. Broken down, this means that out of every 100,000 Americans, 716 of them are behind bars.

Even more alarming is the number of people in this country who have criminal records – one out of every three – ranging from arrests without any conviction, minor offenses, and more serious offenses. This means that approximately 100 million Americans are suffering the consequences often associated with a criminal record. Multiple studies have shown that even a minor offense can lead to multiple barriers when it comes to education, employment, housing, and public assistance, leaving those with records struggling financially, many living below the poverty line.

However, it is not just the person with the record who suffers, but the whole family and especially the children. The instability and lack of financial security often has long-term effects on a child’s life. Approximately 35 million children in the United States have at least one parent with a criminal record.

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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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