Chicago Criminal Expungements Blog
Friday, September 12, 2014
How to Help a Loved One Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Cook County
If someone you love has a criminal record, it can be tough to see them being denied employment or tenancy. It’s hard to watch your loved one suffer under the weight of an old criminal record – but there’s good news. You may be able to help your spouse, significant other or other loved one have his or her criminal record expunged in Cook County.
How to Help a Loved One Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Cook County
First, know that you’re not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people with criminal records in Cook County, so that means there are people like you—people who care—all over Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Your loved one will need to get his or her criminal record first. From there, the two of you can connect with a Chicago expungement attorney. Your lawyer can help you determine whether your loved one is eligible for expungement or sealing (many misdemeanors and even a handful of felonies are eligible for some type of criminal record removal).
Providing Support for Your Loved One
During expungement or sealing proceedings, the State’s Attorney has the option of objecting to the petition. This can happen if he or she feels that your loved one doesn’t deserve the fresh start that expungement or sealing can provide. In the event of an objection, the attorney that you’ve hired will be able to go to bat for your loved one, explaining the circumstances and making it clear why a fresh start is necessary.
If the judge ultimately decides in your loved one’s favor, an order will be sent to the appropriate offices (those that have the criminal record on file) to properly dispose of the record.
How Long Does Expungement or Sealing Take in Cook County?
Expungement and sealing criminal records in Cook County isn’t an overnight process. In fact, it can take quite some time. It’s important that you support your loved one and make sure that he or she stays positive. A good attitude can make a huge difference in your everyday life; besides, with a talented attorney on your team, your loved one has a fighting chance at starting over with a clean slate.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, September 05, 2014
Sealing Violent Misdemeanors: Gov. Pat Quinn's New Law
Starting January 1, 2015, people with certain violent misdemeanor convictions can petition the court to have their criminal records sealed, thanks to a new law signed into effect last week by Governor Pat Quinn.
This law, which actually amends the Criminal Identification Act, still prevents sex crime-related misdemeanors from being sealed, as well as misdemeanors involving animal cruelty. In many other cases, though, there's a genuine chance of starting fresh. You can learn more about the amendment to the Criminal Identification Act here.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, August 29, 2014
How to Get a Pardon in Illinois
The only way to get rid of a criminal record that can’t be expunged or sealed in Illinois is to get the governor to pardon you. While it’s not always easy – Governor Pat Quinn has pardoned about 37 percent of the people whose cases he’s evaluated since taking office – it can be done.
How to Get a Pardon in Illinois
A pardon could give you a new lease on life. You wouldn’t have to worry about employers, landlords or even law enforcement using your past against you.
In order to get a pardon in Illinois, you have to petition the governor’s office. It’s called executive clemency, and the governor has the authority to approve or deny your petition.
The Requirements for Executive Clemency
Anyone can petition the governor for a pardon. Most people choose to work with a Chicago pardon lawyer because the process can be confusing, and it requires you to compile a lot of information. In addition to your personal information, you’ll have to provide information on the criminal record you want pardoned. You’ll also need to create a personal history and explain why you want a pardon.
Your lawyer can help you compile all of that information, and he can help you submit supporting documents or evidence. Your Chicago pardon lawyer might also suggest that you obtain supporting statements from other people.
Getting a Pardon in Illinois
Once your petition is filed, you’ll be able to speak at a hearing. You can also bring in other people to speak on your behalf. Your lawyer can help you prepare and walk you through what will happen at your hearing.
Approval or Denial of Executive Clemency
If your petition for a pardon is approved, potential landlords, employers and law enforcement officers will not be able to see it; there will be nothing left for them to see. Your criminal record will be destroyed.
If your petition for a pardon is denied, you must wait a year before you can file another. There is no limit to the number of times you can file, but you have to wait a year unless you have significant new evidence to support your petition.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, August 15, 2014
Sealing Theft, Forgery and Other Class 4 Felonies in Chicago
There are a lot of common myths about criminal record sealing floating around, and one of them is that you can’t get a felony conviction sealed. In Chicago, Skokie, Schaumberg, Rolling Meadows and the rest of Illinois, you can get some felonies sealed. While sealing is different from expungement, it can still be a huge benefit to you.
Sealing Class 4 Felonies in Chicago and its Suburbs
Illinois law says that you can get certain Class 4 felony convictions sealed. You’ll have to go through a somewhat lengthy process, just like every other process having to do with criminal records.
The convictions that might qualify to be sealed are:
- Retail theft
- Deceptive practice
- Possession of burglary tools
Not all felony charges that fall under these categories are eligible for sealing. You’ll have to check with your Chicago expungement lawyer to find out whether yours does; the laws are very specific.
Give your attorney your arrest record and any court files you’re able to get that pertain to your case. He will be able to evaluate your case and compare it to the laws to figure out whether you qualify.
If your case does qualify for sealing, you still have to meet certain criteria: you must wait four years after the termination of your most recent sentence, and you must not have had any contact with the criminal justice system during that time. That means that four years after you’ve completed your last sentence, you haven’t had any brushes with the law.
Violent, sex-related and gun-related offenses cannot be sealed.
Why Sealing is Important
If you’re eligible to have your record sealed, you should take advantage of the opportunity. When your criminal record is public, it can be seen by potential employers, landlords and others who may use it to judge you without giving you a fair shake.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, August 01, 2014
How to Have Your Chicago Arrest Record Destroyed
When you get arrested, you’re taken to the police station, photographed and fingerprinted. It’s a lot like what we see on reality TV – but what they don’t show you is what happens to the data that police collect upon your arrest.
The truth is, when they collect that data, they put it all together into a permanent record that sits in a database or a filing cabinet (or both) until someone wants to see it.
Even if the charges are dropped or if you’re acquitted and found “not guilty” of any crimes, that arrest record is still in the database.
Who Can See Chicago Arrest Records?
Potential employers, landlords and several other people may have access to your arrest record. Law enforcement officials will see it when you’re pulled over for speeding or arrested under suspicion of another crime, and the military can see it if you try to enlist, too.
It goes without saying that it’s nobody’s business that you were arrested, especially if the charges were dropped or you were found innocent of wrongdoing… but in order to have your Chicago arrest records destroyed, you’ll have to ask the court to force the issue.
How to Have Your Chicago Arrest Record Destroyed
Most people choose to work with a Chicago expungement lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the Illinois justice system. Not everyone is eligible to have their Chicago arrest records destroyed, so your attorney will look at your records and help determine whether you qualify.
Your lawyer will ask a judge to order all involved agencies to destroy your arrest records. If everything goes well, the judge will issue the order and you’ll be home-free. Sometimes the state’s attorney objects to an expungement, but if that happens, your attorney will be there to speak on your behalf.
Why Destroy Your Chicago Arrest Record?
While it’s not fair, many employers, landlords and other people might see your arrest record and hold it against you without even knowing the story behind it. You don’t need that kind of cloud hanging over your head when you’re applying for jobs or trying to find a new place to live (or doing anything else, for that matter).
If you want to see if you’re eligible to have your Chicago arrest record destroyed, call me at (847)920-4540 or contact me online. I’ll be glad to help.Matt Fakhoury
Monday, July 21, 2014
New Law Helps Ex-Offenders
This spring, legislators passed a bill that bars private employers from requiring applicants to disclose their criminal histories until they've been deemed "qualified" for a job -- and that's a boon for ex-offenders, who are often denied employment solely because of past convictions... read more.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, July 18, 2014
Can I Have Domestic Battery Expunged from My Record in Chicago?
Domestic battery is a serious offense in the state of Illinois, and it’s something that sticks with you if you’re convicted of it. As a Chicago expungement attorney, people ask me all the time if there’s any way to expunge domestic battery from their records. The answer? Maybe.
Domestic Battery Expungement
In some cases, domestic battery is a charge that’s there to stay. Law enforcement officials, the military and even potential landlords and employers may be able to view your record and see that you were convicted of domestic battery.
Don’t lose hope yet, though. Sometimes domestic battery can be expunged in the state of Illinois. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always quick, but it can be done.
How to Expunge a Domestic Battery Conviction
Illinois law is very clear about what can and cannot be expunged. A domestic battery conviction is one of the things that can be expunged, but only under certain conditions.
- You must have no other convictions.
- You must have been sentenced to court supervision only.
- Your conviction must have been more than five years ago.
Naturally, if you were acquitted of charges or if no actual charges were filed (if you were only arrested on suspicion of domestic battery), you can have it expunged from your record.
Most people find that working with an attorney makes the whole process easier. Generally, you’ll bring your entire record—your criminal background report—to your expungement lawyer. He’ll look at everything and help you determine whether you’re really eligible. If you are, he’ll help you move forward with the process.
Expunging Domestic Battery from Your Record
It’s not a simple process. There are forms to fill out and file, and you may have to show up to explain yourself in front of a judge. (If you do, your lawyer will be by your side and help ensure that your side of the story comes out.) Sometimes the state’s attorney objects to the expungement; if that happens, you have the right to present witnesses and supporting evidence that helps your case.Matt Fakhoury
Friday, July 04, 2014
Expungement vs. Sealing in Illinois
Expungement and sealing aren’t interchangeable terms. They both have the same goal, though: to limit or prevent other people from having access to your criminal record. There are some fundamental differences, however, and you need to know about them if you have any kind of criminal record – even if you’ve been arrested but never charged with a crime.
So what’s the difference between an expungement and a criminal record sealing in Illinois?
Expungement vs. Sealing
Expungement is what happens when a judge orders that your records be destroyed or that they are returned to you. It’s like starting fresh with a clean slate. That also means that people can’t access your records – there’s nothing there for them to access.
Potential employers, landlords, lenders and the general public will never know that you were even arrested unless you tell them.
Criminal record sealing is more like tucking the files away and preventing most people from accessing them. The general public won’t be able to find records that have been sealed, but the agencies that created them can still retain copies.
Very few people are allowed access to sealed records. Those who are allowed include law enforcement personnel and a handful of potential employers (like the military, people hiring for schools and health care providers).
Some things cannot be expunged but can be sealed, including some drug possession charges, prostitution and felony arrests that never resulted in prosecution. It’s always best to check with your Chicago expungement attorney to figure out whether you qualify for an expungement or if you can seal your criminal record – he’ll know exactly what to do in your situation.
Expungement in Chicago
Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation that expunges juvenile arrest records once the arrestees turn 18. If that doesn’t apply to you but you still want to move forward with a clean slate, call a lawyer who handles expungements in Chicago, Rolling Meadows, Skokie and Schaumberg – it might be the best decision you ever make.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Chicago Expungement of Juvenile Records: New Legislation to Help Young Adults
Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation in early June, effectively giving a handful of Chicago adults a free pass on mistakes they made as minors. The new law automatically expunges juvenile arrest records in a limited number of cases, which can help young people move away from their past and toward a brighter future -- one that doesn't include a criminal record.
is a Chicago criminal defense attorney who handles expungements and sealings in the Greater Chicago area.
Friday, June 20, 2014
Criminal Record Expungement in Illinois: What About Felonies?
Criminal record expungement is a way for you to start fresh, with a clean slate – no more having to tell potential employers, landlords, or anyone else that you’ve been charged with or convicted of a crime. Many people choose to work with a Skokie expungement attorney so they can enjoy having a spotless criminal record.
But what about felonies? Do they count when it comes to criminal record expungement?
Criminal Record Expungement and Felonies
Most felonies don’t qualify for criminal record expungement. Even if you were convicted of a non-violent felony, you may not be able to expunge or seal your record.
Generally, criminal record expungement is limited to arrests that didn’t result in convictions, minor misdemeanors and a small number of felony drug possession convictions. Some honorably discharged veterans may qualify for criminal record expungement of Class 3 or Class 4 felonies, so if that applies to you, let your lawyer know.
If you’re not sure whether your conviction qualifies, get a copy of your criminal record and talk to an experienced expungement lawyer in Skokie who can let you know. Every case is different, so don’t assume that you can’t start fresh without checking with an attorney.
What Can Be Expunged in Illinois?
Some Class 4 drug convictions, as well as Class 4 prostitution, can be expunged in the state of Illinois. In addition to actual convictions, your case could qualify for criminal record expungement if you were found not guilty in court, there were no charges filed against you, or if your case was dismissed.
There are several other convictions that can be expunged as long as you don’t have any other convictions (but other restrictions might apply, such as being sentenced only to court supervision or waiting a set period of time).
Even if you’ve been convicted of a felony in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or Schaumberg, you may not have to live with it hanging over your head each time you try to get a new job, move, or do anything that requires you to disclose your criminal history. You owe it to yourself – and to your family – to find out whether you qualify for criminal record expungement.
Friday, June 06, 2014
Juvenile Arrest Records: Is There Any Hope?
Last year, there were about 21,000 juvenile arrests in Illinois. Many of them were for small misdemeanor charges, and in Cook County, about 75 percent of these arrests don’t even result in criminal charges. The problem? Those arrests will stay on their records unless they work through the court system or call a Chicago expungement attorney to get them taken off.
So what does that mean for their futures?
Juveniles with Criminal Records
It’s no secret that having a criminal record can hurt future opportunities. Everything from housing to employment can be affected; it can even be harder to get a college degree.
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is backing a bill that would automatically expunge these kids’ records—as long as certain conditions are met—and that’s a huge step forward. However, it hasn’t been enacted yet. The bill will clear kids’ records once they turn 18 if:
- At least six months have passed since the arrest and there have been no other arrests during that time
- The arrest wasn’t for a Class 2 or higher felony
- The arrest wasn’t for a sex offense
- The arrest didn’t result in a petition for delinquency being filed with the clerk of the circuit court
While this can seriously improve a young adult’s chances to get a good job, find a suitable place to live, and get into the right school, there are still thousands of other people in Chicago and the surrounding areas who are being held back by juvenile arrest records.
Clearing Your Own Juvenile Record
If you’re one of the thousands of adults whose juvenile record tags along wherever you go, you might be able to do something about it. The first thing you need to do is get your criminal background report and then consult with a Chicago lawyer who deals with expungements and record sealing. The after-effects of an arrest that happened 10, 20 or even 30 years ago can haunt you for the rest of your life; the good news is that you may not have to let them.
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