The prospect of having a criminal record can be daunting. It can limit your ability to find a job, secure housing, and participate in society.
However, options are available in Illinois to help you move past your mistakes and clear your record. Read on as we explain the details of sealing or expunging a criminal record in Illinois.
Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record
Sealing and expunging are terms often used interchangeably but have different implications.
Expungement is a process that completely erases your criminal record as if the crime never happened. This is only available for certain types of crimes and under specific circumstances. With an expunged record, you will no longer become obligated to disclose your criminal history on job applications or other forms.
On the other hand, sealing restricts access to your criminal record but does not eliminate it. Your history is only available to specific parties, like law enforcement agencies, and it cannot be used against you in most situations. Nevertheless, some employers and other entities may still be able to view your sealed record.
Eligibility to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record in Illinois
Not all criminal records can be sealed or expunged in Illinois. The eligibility criteria depend on several factors, including the type of crime committed and the severity of the offense.
You may be eligible if:
l You got arrested but did not get charged with a crime;
l You got charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed;
l You got convicted of certain non-violent misdemeanors, such as petty theft or traffic offenses; or
l You were convicted of non-violent felonies, such as drug possession or forgery.
However, there are limitations to these eligibility criteria. For example, you may not be eligible if your conviction was of certain violent crimes, like murder or sexual assault. Despite this, you must meet the waiting periods and other requirements before applying for sealing or expungement.
The Best Way to Seal or Expunge Your Criminal Record in Illinois
If you are sure that you may be eligible for sealing or expungement of your criminal record in Illinois, it is crucial to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney can assess your case and determine your eligibility.
If you are eligible, your attorney can guide you through petitioning the court for sealing or expungement. It involves filing a petition, presenting evidence of your eligibility, and attending a hearing.
Sealing or expunging your record can be complicated and may take several months to complete. However, the benefits of having your record sealed or expunged are more significant, making your effort and expense worthwhile.
In summary, sealing or expunging your criminal record in Illinois can be a game-changer, but it is not available to everyone. The process can be complex, and it is crucial to consult with an experienced FKMA Law criminal defense attorney to determine your eligibility and guide you through the process. If you are considering sealing or expunging your record, take the first step and consult with a knowledgeable attorney here today.
Contact Franks, Kelly, Matuszewich, and Andrle Attorneys at Law for help with your case today.