If you or someone you know has a criminal record you should contact an experienced Chicago expungement attorney to learn about having your record expunged or sealed. At Kostopoulos Law Group our attorneys are well-versed in expungement law and understand the complicated expungement process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
A criminal record could mean that your ability to enjoy certain privileges in the future may be severely limited.
When you apply for a new apartment the landlord will likely ask questions about your criminal history and run a background check to see if you have any prior legal indiscretions. You may decide that you’re interested in going to college to get a degree, but need a loan to help pay the expensive tuition. A lender may also decide to run a background check before agreeing to lend you the funds you need. Even landing a job can prove to be a difficult task. Many employers routinely run background checks on potential employees. If something comes up that they’re uncomfortable with, they may not choose to offer you a job, despite your qualifications.
Certain criminal records may be expunged or sealed. These processes allow individuals who have been arrested, charged, and/or convicted of a crime to essentially wipe the slate clean. Expungements destroy criminal records altogether, while sealed records are maintained, but only for the viewing and use of select law enforcement officials. An expunged or sealed record can provide a way to shield prior criminal indiscretions from future employers, landlord, and lenders.
Expunging a Criminal Record
The Illinois Criminal Identification Act is the controlling law for expungement. Not all criminal records can be expunged. If you have been convicted of a crime in Chicago, your criminal record cannot be expunged. However, arrests or criminal charges that did not result in a conviction may be petitioned for expungement. Federal and out of state records cannot be expunged through a petition.
If you were arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may be able to petition the court – after a certain period of years – to have all traces of those charges wiped from your criminal record. You can petition for an expungement if no charges were filed against you or if the result of the case was any of the following:
- Stricken without leave;
- Finding of No Probable Cause;
- Court supervision which was successfully completed;
- Section 10, 410, 710, 1410, or TASC probation which was successfully completed; or
- Second probation which was successfully completed.
Additionally, if you are an honorably discharged veteran who was convicted of class 3 or class 4 felony offenses of a non-violent, non-sexual, and non-gun-related nature you may petition the court for an expungement.
Certain Criminal Offenses Not Eligible for Expungement
Illinois does not allow the expungement for any criminal offense. Rather, it explicitly prohibits the expungement (and/or sealing) of certain criminal and municipal offenses. Offenses that may not be eligible for expungement include:
- Driving under the influence;
- Reckless driving;
- Domestic battery;
- Criminal sexual offenses;
- Violation of an order of protection; and
- Minor traffic offenses.
Expungement Waiting Period
Illinois imposes varying waiting periods for criminal records that qualify for expungement. The waiting period is often a specific number of years tied to the specific criminal offense you were arrested and/or charged with and the specific disposition (e.g. probation, court supervision, etc.) in which the case resulted. In other cases, the waiting period may be tied to your birthday and age. Determining eligibility and the proper waiting period before a petition may be filed can be complicated. The experienced criminal lawyers at Kostopoulos Law Group can help to determine if you are eligible for expungement and when you may legally petition the court. Contact us today to learn more.
If You Can’t Expunge Your Record, You May Be Able to Seal It
If you have been convicted of a crime in Illinois you are not permitted to expunge your criminal record. You may, however, be able to petition the court to have your record sealed. Sealing a record does not destroy it, but rather removes it from agency databases and prevents it from popping up when someone runs a background check. The record is still available for viewing and use by certain law enforcement officials for criminal and sentencing matters. Generally, if you have been convicted of a crime you may petition to have your record sealed three years after completing the sentence of your punishment. However, not all records may be sealed. The process of determining if a criminal record may be sealed is perhaps even more complicated than determining eligibility for expungement. A knowledgeable Chicago expungement attorney can review your record and determine if you may petition the court to have it sealed.
Contact An Experienced Chicago Expungement Attorney
Criminal records can wreak havoc on your life, even if you were never formally convicted of a crime. The simple presence of an arrest or criminal charge may cause potential landlords, employers, or lenders to deny your application. Certain criminal records may be eligible for expungement or sealing. The effect of having your slate wiped clean and being able to confidently answer “no” to those questions relating to criminal history can be priceless. The process of obtaining this clean slate is often a complicated one. An experienced Chicago expungement attorney can help to ensure your petition is successful.
The attorneys at Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC are well-versed in the complex Illinois Criminal Identification Act and understand the complicated procedures involved in determining eligibility for expunging and sealing criminal records. Contact us today to learn more about expunging or sealing your Illinois criminal record.