How to Expunge a Criminal Record

Guest post is provided by Daniel Kay, Attorney at Law, a criminal attorney in Illinois. Visit his website for more information on how to expunge your criminal record.

To expunge your criminal record, you will need a criminal defense attorney to help you through the process. Expungment can be defined as law enforcement acting as if the crime has never occurred. All agencies are required to destroy documents relating to the expunged activity. Under Illinois law, a person can petition the court for an expungment to remove arrests, supervisions and probations from their criminal record as long as there has been no conviction.

There are several agencies that keep your criminal record that include courts, police (arresting authority only) and the clerk’s office.
If you are successful in having your criminal record expunged you can expect both the arresting authority and the State Police Department to remove your arrest from any official records. The clerk will then remove your name from public records as well.

However, do note that even though no one else can see these expunged records, for five years, law enforcement still has access to them. Expungment means that your criminal record is now only available by court order and will no longer show up on a background check to affect job searches or loans.
The people who qualify to expunge a criminal record are only those who were not convicted of their criminal offense, municipal ordinance violation or class A or B traffic offense. Conviction means that when you went to court you were found guilty of the charges against you pertaining to probation, conditional discharge, fine, time served or incarceration. If you plead or were found guilty by a judge or jury, these types of charges will remain on a criminal record.

There are certain types of criminal offenses that cannot be expunged if you were sentenced to supervision for particular items. Sexual offense committed by minors under 18 are considered null for expungement. Major violations to do with driving such as driving under the influence (DUI), or reckless driving will also be immune to expungement efforts.

Expungement will help you in your life as previous crimes you were accused of are erased from public record. This means when jobs you are applying for do a background check on you, or when a loan officer is scanning your history, they will not find the accusations against you. This can make or break you when finding a job. While some employers are more forgiving, especially if there was no conviction, other are more cautious to hire you and will choose someone else for the position.

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