Tag Archives: Petition to Seal

IL defense attorneyMany 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.

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If You Can't Expunge, Seal Your Criminal Record

If you have been previously arrestedcharged, and even convicted, but you do not qualify for Expungement, you may be able to clean up your criminal record by filing a Petition to Seal. A criminal history can cost you a job, admission to college or can have other negative consequences on your life and future. The process of Sealing entails petitioning the court for the entry of an order directing law enforcement agencies to impound all documents related to a prior criminal arrest, charge, and/or conviction. While Expungement is preferable because it results in the destruction of criminal records, sealing your record is the next best thing. The benefit to sealing your record is that employers, colleges, universities, and the general public will no longer be able to see that old arrest, criminal charge, or conviction. 

If the case you would like expunged resulted in a conviction, you will not be eligible for expungement. Additionally, if you are looking to expunge a prior arrest, dismissal of charges, or court supervision, but you have a prior conviction on your record, you will not be able to file for expungement either. Expungement is only available to defendants who do not have any prior convictions on their records. However, if you have an arrest or criminal charge for a misdemeanor offense that would otherwise be eligible for expungement, but is not due to that prior conviction, you may be the perfect candidate for filing a Petition to Seal your record. Additionally, some misdemeanor and class 4 felony convictions can be sealed. 

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