People change. Often, the person that someone was in the past bears almost no resemblance to the person he or she is today. Unfortunately, a criminal record can negatively impact someone’s life long after the alleged crime. Employers are less likely to give a job to someone with a criminal past. Similarly, landlords may refuse housing to an individual accused of a crime. Neighbors and community members may also prejudge the person before even meeting him or her. All of these factors can make it nearly impossible for an individual accused or convicted of a crime to move on.
Fortunately, people in Illinois who were convicted of criminal offenses may qualify for record expungement or sealing. These processes remove the criminal record from public view, clearing the way for the convicted person to build a better life.
How Does Record Expungement Work?
Many people are shocked when they realize that you can have a criminal record even if you were not found guilty or convicted of a crime. For example, if you were accused of a crime but your charges were dropped, there is still a record of the initial arrest. People who look up your record can see that you were arrested or accused of a criminal act, which can negatively affect your life in several ways.
You may be able to get an arrest or criminal charge expunged or removed from your record if:
- You were not officially charged with the crime
- You completed court supervision
- You completed probation
- You were acquitted of the crime
- Your charges were dismissed
- Your conviction was vacated
If your record is expunged, it is completely destroyed. No one can view the official record.
How Does Record Sealing Work?
If you were convicted of a crime, you most likely cannot get the record of the conviction expunged. However, you may be able to get the record sealed. Most misdemeanor offenses can be sealed, but there are exceptions including drunk driving, criminal sexual abuse, and domestic battery. Certain felony offenses may be sealed as well. When a record is sealed, it is hidden from view for most parties. Your friends and neighbors cannot view the record, and the record will not show up on most background checks. However, law enforcement agencies and certain employers may still be able to see the record.
Contact our DuPage County Record Clearing Lawyers for Help
At [[title]], we know that having a criminal record can hold you back in life. Contact our experienced Wheaton expungement attorneys for help clearing your name. Call [[phone]] to set up a free, confidential consultation.