Are You Eligible to Expunge or Seal Your Illinois Criminal Record?
Having a criminal record can be a serious impediment to getting a good job, applying to rent an apartment, and many other major life events. If you made some mistakes in your past, but have remained on the straight and narrow since, you may qualify to have the state of Illinois expunge your criminal record. Read on to find out if you’re eligible to repair your record in this way.
What does it mean to have my criminal record expunged?
When your criminal record is expunged, the offense for which you were arrested will be removed from your criminal record entirely. You will not have to report that you were arrested for and charged with that offense on job applications or other circumstances where your background is being checked.
Am I eligible to have my criminal record expunged?
There are very narrow circumstances under which a criminal record can be expunged. If you were arrested for an offense but were ultimately acquitted, or the charges were dropped, you’re likely eligible to have that offense expunged. If you have a conviction for one of certain low-level felonies, and were put under supervision, first offender drug probation, TASC probation, or 2nd chance probation as a result of that conviction, then you may be eligible for expungement. Offenses that may be eligible for expungement include convictions for reckless driving, driving without insurance, possession of a controlled substance, vandalism, and Class 3 theft. If you are an honorably discharged veteran who served at least one complete tour of duty, and were convicted of a Class 3 or Class 4 felony prior to your tour or while you were on active duty, you may be eligible to have that conviction expunged, provided that it was non-violent, non-sexual, and non-gun-related.
Generally, there is a waiting period of at least two years, and in many cases five years, from the time you completed your supervision period, until you can apply to have your record expunged. DUIs and sexual offenses against a minor do not qualify for expungement. If you have more than one conviction on your record, you will not be eligible for expungement.
Expunging a criminal record in Illinois is particularly complex. If you are not eligible for an expungement, you may be eligible to have your record sealed, a more liberal process which we will discuss in a future post.
If you would like to speak with a Chicago attorney about having your criminal record expunged so that you can move on entirely from past mistakes, contact Chicago-area criminal defense attorney John Fairman at 708-799-4848.