A criminal record can cause serious problems in your personal and professional life. If you have ever been arrested, you likely have a criminal record that is readily accessible to the public, even if you were never found guilty of the crime. This means that your employer, prospective employer, friends and family all have the ability to see your criminal past. This is true even if the case was dismissed, you were placed on court supervision, or if you were found not guilty. Background checks are used frequently by prospective employers, former spouses (i.e. custody disputes), and by educational institutions. Our Illinois expungement attorneys may be able to help give you a clean slate.
There are two methods our attorneys use to help clear your criminal record in Illinois: expungement and sealing. Despite what you may have heard, neither expungement nor sealing happens automatically. Once you are arrested, you will likely have an arrest record regardless of the final disposition (i.e. dismissal). A petition to expunge or a petition to seal must be filed and a court order expunging or sealing your record must be obtained in order to clear your criminal record.
Expungement and sealing laws are complex and the process can be confusing. Every county in Illinois has a different set of rules, guidelines and procedures that must be followed. Hiring an experienced Illinois expungement attorney is highly recommended.
The first step in the process is obtaining a copy of your entire criminal record. Our office needs to review any and all arrests in your past in order to determine if we can help. This means we need information on ALL of your cases, even arrests that were dismissed in court. This information should include type of charge, case number, courthouse information, arresting police department, final disposition (i.e. dismissal, not-guilty, guilty, etc.), sentence (i.e. supervision, conditional discharge, probation, etc.), and termination date of sentence. We may need to order your records from the Illinois State Police, the county circuit clerk's office(s), and/or the arresting police department(s).
Expungement and sealing laws are continuously changing and expanding. Illinois legislation has recently expanded the list of felony offenses that are eligible to be sealed. The new law allows the sealing of Class 3 and 4 Theft, Retail Theft, Deceptive Practices, Forgery, Possession of Burglary Tools and Possession with Intent to Deliver.
The attorneys at The Davis Law Group, P.C. can evaluate your criminal record and determine if you are eligible for expungement or if you qualify for sealing. Our office regularly practices out of Cook County, Lake County, and DuPage County. Answers to frequently asked questions about expungement and sealing in Illinois can be found here. Feel free to contact us so we can help clear your criminal record and give you a fresh start.