There are many myths surrounding criminal record expungement in Chicago, and one of the main reasons is that there are so many definitions and conditions when it comes to getting your record erased.
Remember, if you’re ever confused about something, ask your Cook County expungement lawyer. He’ll be able to clear everything up and ensure that you understand what’s happening.
That said, there are things you should know about the conditions on supervision, dispositions and sealing before you even try to have your criminal record expunged.
Conditions Regarding Supervision in Expungement Cases
You’ve probably heard that you may have to wait two or five years to petition the court to have your records expunged, but when does that waiting period begin?
The waiting period for having any record expunged is based on the completion of supervision for the last offense. That means if you had an offense in 1995, one in 2000 and one in 2013, you must wait the appropriate amount of time after completing supervision for the last offense—in this case, the record that was created in 2013—even if you are trying to have the record from 1995 expunged.
Dispositions and Eligibility for Sealing
There isn’t a way to seal part of a case. If your case only partially qualifies, you can’t have any of the record sealed. For example, if you are charged with a felony and a misdemeanor in the same case, you cannot have the misdemeanor portion sealed. You’ll need to talk to your attorney for case-specific advice; generally, though, unless these charges are brought up in separate cases, neither will be able to be sealed.
How to Get Rid of Non-Qualifying Convictions
If your convictions qualify for neither expungement nor sealing, you have one final option: a pardon from the governor. A pardon can get the conviction completely removed from your criminal record, and if you think you have a case for a pardon—even if you have already served a sentence—it can’t hurt to talk to a Chicago attorney who may be able to help.Matt Fakhoury