Options for Clearing Your Criminal Record in Illinois
Many people who are arrested or charged with a crime are surprised to learn that even if they are found not guilty, or their charges are dropped, they will still have a criminal record. These records can be accessed by the public, which can have significant repercussions for a person’s ability to find employment or secure housing. While it is possible to have one’s criminal record erased or sealed, doing so can be difficult, so if you were arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime in Illinois, you should speak with an experienced Lombard, IL expungement lawyer who can walk you through your options for clearing your criminal record.
How to Clear Your Criminal Record
There are actually three ways to clear one’s criminal record, the first of which is expungement. Expungement proceedings completely erase a person’s record of arrest or court supervision. Sealing, on the other hand, allows a person to hide his or her criminal record from most members of the public. Some individuals and entities will still have access to sealed records, including law enforcement agencies. Similarly, employers that are required by law to conduct background checks will be able to see sealed felony convictions, although they will not be able to see any misdemeanor convictions or cases that did not result in a conviction. Those who do not qualify for expungement or sealing could apply for a pardon from the Governor. This method does not, however, erase or hide a conviction. Instead, those who have received a pardon will have the option of applying for expungement.
Expungement vs Sealing
Those who have been convicted of an offense are not allowed to expunge their criminal records unless:
- The conviction was reversed
- The conviction was vacated
- The person received a pardon from the Governor
- The person received a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement from the Prisoner Review Board
Arrest records for offenses that did not result in a conviction, however, can be expunged, as can sentences for court supervision if a certain amount of time has passed. Arrests for minor traffic offenses, crimes for which probation was not completed, DUI charges, or sexual offenses against a minor, can also not be expunged.
Fortunately, even those who do not qualify for expungement could still be able to seal their criminal records, although whether this is possible depends on the charge and the amount of time that has passed. Records of arrests and charges that did not result in a conviction, for instance, with the exclusion of minor traffic offenses, can always be sealed. Similarly, records of conviction can be sealed unless the offense involves a minor traffic offense, reckless driving, DUI, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, sexual crimes, animal offenses, or second felony convictions.
Speak with an Experienced DuPage County Expungement Attorney
If you have a criminal record, please call one of our Polish speaking Lombard, IL expungement lawyers at Aldrich & Siedlarz Law, P.C. for help determining whether you qualify for record sealing or expungement. We can be reached at 630-953-3000 or via online message.