Important Changes in Illinois Law Provide Brighter Futures for Those with Past Arrests
Over the summer, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed two bills into law which will improve the future prospects of Illinois residents with criminal histories. Chicagoland residents who have arrests in their pasts now have an improved ability to seal their records, either with a court filing or through an automatic process.
Bill makes record-sealing easier for adults convicted of crimes
On August 24, 2017, Gov. Rauner signed House Bill 2373 into law, which became effective immediately. This law, which amends the Illinois Criminal Identification Act, increases the number of offenses that can be sealed and the conditions under which sealing can occur. Individuals who were convicted of a misdemeanor, or received an order of supervision, based on charges of public indecency, may now have these charges sealed. Additionally, a greater number of felony convictions are now eligible to be sealed. That said, certain felonies, such as those classified as sex offenses, domestic battery charges, DUIs, and animal crimes remain ineligible for sealing.
Sealing doesn’t eliminate a criminal offense from the individual’s record, as does expungement. What sealing does is conceal eligible offenses on a background check conducted by a member of the public, such as a landlord or prospective employer. Law enforcement bodies and government officials will remain able to view these offenses on the person’s record.
Easier path to expungement under new laws
The governor also signed into law several other bills that will increase an Illinois resident’s ability to move on from past arrests. House Bill 514 allows for individuals who were charged with but never convicted of a crime, or who had their conviction vacated, to expunge those arrests from their records. Senate Bill 1781 allows those applying for an expungement of their record of an arrest that didn’t result in a conviction, or a conviction that was later vacated, to waive the $120 fee that typically applies to expungement applications. House Bill 3817 makes it easier for those who faced criminal charges as a juvenile to expunge those convictions.
These new laws make it easier to clear past convictions from your record, but sealing is not automatic. In most cases, you’ll still need to file an application and argue your case for sealing or expungement before a judge. Speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney for help in applying to have your past arrest or conviction record sealed.
If you’re facing criminal charges in the Bridgeview Courthouse or Markham Courthouse and want a knowledgeable and aggressive defense against these charges, contact the Chicagoland criminal defense lawyer John Fairman for a consultation, in Homewood at 708-799-4848, and in Bridgeview at 708-960-4806.