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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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expungement, Arlington Heights record sealing lawyerApproximately 30,000 people are released from Illinois prisons each year; most want to return to society, find a job, and support their families. Unfortunately, the current state of the Illinois justice system leaves them with few options and some very large hurdles. This can increase their risk of recidivism (re-offending) and eventually land them back in prison. Before any of this can improve, serious reform must be made, especially in regard to future opportunities and getting a fresh start.

Time Served Does Not Equal Debt Paid

When it comes to those who are convicted of a crime, time served does not usually equal a debt paid – at least not with the way the justice system is now. They may be banned from renting property in certain areas, denied educational loans, banned from receiving public assistance, and are often barred from working in certain professions. And, even if they are actually able to work in a particular field or at a particular job, they may have a difficult time convincing a potential employer to hire them. In fact, many are filtered out before they ever even receive an interview.

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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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