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Rolling Meadows, IL expungement attorney

Each and every time you come into contact with the criminal justice system, that interaction is noted and saved on your criminal record. This is true even if you are not convicted of the crime. If your criminal offense did not result in a conviction, your record will still exist and will still be following you around; however, you may be able to have your records expunged or erased. There are many situations and possibilities in which a case may end without a conviction, such as cases in which you were only arrested but were never charged or charges were eventually dropped. If you have a criminal record that you would like to conceal, you should speak with an Illinois criminal record expungement lawyer.

Does My Offense Qualify?

Not all criminal records are able to be expunged in Illinois. One of the first steps you need to take is to determine if your specific offense and sentence qualify to be expunged. Entries on your criminal record that will typically qualify for expungement include:

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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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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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