Being convicted of a crime can be an embarrassment, even years after you have served your sentence. As such, it is possible to have a criminal record expunged or sealed, and doing so is not as grueling as a process as it may appear. By working with an experienced Arlington Heights expungement lawyer, you can learn everything that you need to know about expungement, and start the process today.
Expungement is the legal process of having a person’s criminal record erased or removed completely, so that the record is no longer accessible. As explained by the American Bar Association, an expungement requires the court to treat the criminal conviction as though it had never occurred, completely providing the defendant with a clean slate. When a record is sealed, on the other hand, it still exists, and may be accessible by law enforcement officers, but cannot be viewed by the public.
Not all crimes can be expunged. To be sure, The Office of the State Appellate Defender of Illinois explains that only qualifying arrests, supervisions, and probations can be expunged. It is not possible to expunge the conviction of a criminal offense or municipal ordinance violation, although these records may be sealed. The only exception to this is for veterans who were honorably discharged and who have been convicted of certain felony crimes.
In order to expunge a criminal record, you will need to follow an extensive step-by-step process. This process starts with obtaining copies of your criminal record. From there, you will need to review these records, and decide between expungement or sealing (a choice which may be decided for you based on your record). You will then need to fill out the appropriate forms, file your forms with the circuit clerk in the county where you were charged with the offense (not necessarily the county where you currently live), and file the fee.
Working with an attorney can be very helpful throughout this process. While you are not obligated to work with an attorney, an attorney can help you to obtain copies of your criminal record, assist you in understanding the differences between expungement and sealing and which you qualify for, and guide you in obtaining, filling out, and filing the appropriate forms.
Jonathan Minkus is an award-winning defense attorney who has spent more than three decades aggressively advocating for those charged with crimes in Arlington Heights and surrounding areas of Illinois. In addition to experience, the Law Offices of Jonathan Minkus is also passionate about serving clients, and ensuring that everyone who walks into our law office gets the best legal representation possible.
If you have questions about expunging or sealing a criminal record, we want to help. For a free consultation, contact our talented Arlington Heights expungement lawyer today.
Senior Partner Jonathan Minkus has successfully defended individuals charged with every conceivable criminal offense, from traffic misdemeanors to death-penalty eligible homicides.