Having a criminal record can cause harsh consequences that extend long after you have successfully carried out your sentence. Prospective employers, admissions officers, landlords, and loan agents do not take kindly to applicants who have criminal records, so having one can make it hard for you to get your life back on track. However, with the help of an experienced Chicago defense lawyer, you can try to get a clean slate. Expunging your record will destroy the information, and it will not be available to anyone, including law enforcement officials. A clean record will improve your prospects for getting the job, apartment, or loan that you want. If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may consider sealing your record to remove it from public view instead. A knowledgeable defense attorney can help you determine the best course of action for you and your case.
Which Records Can Be Expunged?
Expungement of records in Illinois is only possible where the final outcome of a case is something other than conviction or a finding of guilty by a judge, or a guilty verdict from a jury.
Dispositions that qualify for expungement include:
- An arrest where no charges were filed;
- The dismissal of the charges prior to trial for lack of prosecution.
- A charge stricken with leave to reinstate, referred to as “SOL;
- An acquittal or not guilty finding after trial; or on another lawsuit where the appellate court determines clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is factually innocent of the charge;
- Convictions that have been set aside on direct appeal or other lawsuit where the court determines that the defendant is factually innocent of the charge;
- A pardon in which the governor has specifically stated that the records should be expunged; or
- An order of court supervision.
Which Records Cannot Be Expunged?
Expungement is not available for a driving under the influence of alcohol offense, even where an order of court supervision was entered in the case. Expungement is also not available where a defendant was granted court supervision for a sexual offense committed against a minor under 18 years of age.
Expungement is not available to persons (adults or minors charged as adults) who have been previously convicted of a criminal offense or municipal ordinance violation.
Expungement is not available for ordinary traffic tickets, orders of protection, or civil orders or judgments.
Seek Help from a Knowledgeable Local Attorney
You deserve a fair shot at building the life you want after a criminal conviction. An experiencedChicago criminal defense lawyer who understands the legal requirements forcriminal record sealing and expungement in Illinois can help you determine whether you can clear your record, and can guide you through the long process.Contact Goldman & Associates today for a consultation.