Expungement & Record Sealing Serving Joliet - Will County, IL
In certain cases, an Illinois resident may like to have a criminal history expunged, for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include escaping the obligation to report criminal history on job applications, impact on licensing opportunities, and a simple desire to “clean up the record” are among the people who are far removed from those past events.
However, there are many misconceptions about both expungement and the sealing of criminal records. One of the most significant is the belief that any crime, or virtually any crime, may be expunged from your record.
Eligibility for Expungement
Generally, no person who has been convicted of any crime is eligible for expungement, although there is a narrow exception that applies to some honorably discharged veterans.
In general, expungement is available when the case was dismissed, a finding of not guilty was entered, or a similar disposition was reached. In some cases, those who have entered a guilty plea may qualify for expungement if the case was resolved through a first offender drug probation program or other similar process that did not result in the entry of a conviction.
Crimes Qualifying for Expungement
Only certain types of crime qualify for expungement under Illinois law. And, within those categories, additional restrictions apply. For example, the date on which an incident occurred, your age at the time of the offense and your age at the time of petition may impact your eligibility for expungement.
Sealing Criminal Records
In many cases where expungement is not an option, it may be possible to have a criminal record sealed. While expunged records are physically destroyed and all record removed, sealed records remain intact and are available to certain parties such as law enforcement officers. However, sealed records are no longer public record, and in most cases do not need to be disclosed on employment or licensing applications. (Note that the law does require disclosure of even sealed offenses in the licensing process for some professions.)
You may petition to seal certain records even if you have a criminal conviction. However, you may not commence a petition to have records sealed while any current case is pending. And, for many crimes, a period of 3-5 years with no contact with the criminal justice system is required.
In addition, there are certain crimes that cannot be sealed, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, domestic battery, criminal sexual abuse, violation of a protective order, and certain violent or weapons-related charges.
Expungement and Sealing of Criminal Records in Illinois
Expungement or sealing of criminal records is complex, and widely misunderstood. If you’re considering attempting to clean up the record with a petition for expungement or to have records sealed, get the advice you need. We’ll help you determine whether or not you are eligible for expungement or to have your records sealed, and then ensure that the process is completed correctly, according to the right timelines, to ensure that you get the relief you’re entitled to.
Expunging or Sealing Juvenile Records
There is a common misconception that juvenile records are automatically sealed when the defendant reaches the age of majority.
Generally, a person 18 years of age or older can successfully petition to have a criminal record expunged if:
He or she was arrested but not charged
He or she was charged but not found delinquent
He or she was placed under supervision which was successfully terminated
He or she was adjudicated delinquent in connection with an offense that, if committed by an adult, would have been a Class B misdemeanor or less
Those aged 21 and older have wider latitude to expunge juvenile records, assuming that they have no adult convictions and at least five years have passed since the termination of the most recent juvenile court proceeding or commitment.
Rick Muñoz, a Joliet attorney prides himself on his experience, he can bring vital insight into your case.