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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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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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