A criminal record can have a negative impact on your life, making it difficult to get a job, apply for college, find a home, or live a normal life. Fortunately, it may be possible to put your past behind you once and for all through either expungement or record sealing.
Expungement is when your criminal record is either destroyed or returned to you, and all public criminal records will no longer mention your name. Record sealing is when your record is kept confidential, but not destroyed. While the public may not access your records, law enforcement officials may do so.
If you were never convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime in Illinois, you are eligible for expungement. In other words, if you were only arrested and your case was dismissed, or if you were arrested and charged, but later acquitted, you can get your record expunged immediately.
However, if you have been convicted, eligibility for expungement and record sealing depends on the circumstances of your case. Keep in mind, if you were convicted of DUI, domestic violence, violating a restraining order, soliciting or patronizing a prostitute, committing a misdemeanor under the Humane Care for Animals Act, and any type of sex crime, you will not be eligible for either expungement or record sealing.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor that is not mentioned above and you received court supervision, you are eligible for expungement after waiting two years from the date you completed court supervision. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and successfully complete special, qualified probation, you may apply for expungement after a five-year waiting period.
When it comes to record sealing, most misdemeanors and felonies can be sealed after three years from the date their sentence ends. If you do not qualify for sealing, then the only way to clear your record is from a governor's pardon.
Getting your record expunged or sealed can be a complex legal process, which is why it is important to seek legal assistance from a criminal defense attorney. With more than two decades of experience in Illinois, let the Law Office of Steven Fine help you get your life back on track.
If you are interested in getting your record expunged or sealed in Chicago, contact us today at (312) 436-0638 for a free initial consultation.