Your Criminal Record
If you have been arrested in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, you have a criminal record even if the case was eventually dismissed. The charges will stay on your record unless a judge orders your record sealed or expunged. Only certain crimes are eligible to be sealed or expunged under Illinois law.
Your criminal record can cause many difficulties in obtaining employment, professional licensing or student loans. Since 2004, Illinois law allows offenders with qualifying arrests, misdemeanor supervisions and misdemeanor convictions may petition the court for expungement or sealing of their records. Only criminal records prosecuted and maintained by the State of Illinois are affected. Federal and out-of-state convictions do not fall under the law.
Expunged or Sealed
- Expungement: When a record is “expunged”, it is as if the crime never occurred. Most agencies expunge, or destroy, their records.
- Sealed: When a record is “sealed”, the file remains intact. it is labeled as “sealed” and can only be released to other law enforcement agencies. Employers will not have access to the records.
You may be eligible to have your case expunged or sealed after a two to five year period of time, (depending on each case) if you are placed on supervision, probation or convicted of a misdemeanor. The Clerk of the Court in the county in which the offense occurred and the Office of the State Appellate Defender have information which you can request that more fully explains your right to expunge or seal records, together with the proper forms; however, multiple convictions, supervisions or arrests may affect your eligibility to have these records expunged or sealed.
There are different types of criminal records:
- Court Disposition – The final judgment or outcome in a court case.
- RAP Sheet – List of all arrests, charges, and court case outcomes that happen by that arresting agency.
- Illinois State Police RAP Sheet – List of all convictions that happened in Illinois.
In order to get your criminal record sealed or expunged, there are several steps you must take.
- Obtain information for all cases, including county, arresting agency, case number, date of arrest, and how the case ended.
- Determine eligibility. You cannot expunge a record if you were convicted of a crime, however, you may be eligible to seal all or part of your record from public view.
- File the proper petitions with the court and pay the filing fee.
- The State’s Attorney can object to your petition to expunge or seal. If there is no objection, your expungement or sealing will most likely be granted by the court.
- If the State’s Attorney objects, you may be entitled to a hearing.
- If the order is granted, it must be sent to both the Illinois State Police as well as the agency that arrested you.
- This is not a quick process – it may take several months for the sealing or expungement to be granted, and in some cases, the process could take longer.
Today it is difficult to find a job even with a clean criminal record. If you have a criminal record, finding a job can become almost impossible, so getting your record expunged or sealed can be very important to your quality of life. Contact Attorney David Studenroth if you have a criminal record that you need sealed or expunged. Mr. Studenroth has the knowledge and experience to effectively represent you throughout the entire process. Call 847.292.9200 for a free consultation.
Call 847.292.9200 for a free consultation.