Chicago Criminal Expungements Blog
Monday, February 01, 2016
Chicago Arrest Records: What You Need to Know
If you’re like many people who are trying to expunge a criminal record, you’re wondering where to begin – and it all starts with your Chicago arrest records.
What Are Chicago Arrest Records?
In Chicago and elsewhere in Illinois, arrest records are written documentation that shows an individual’s criminal history. They’re typically kept on file with law enforcement agencies and courts, and they’re usually called rap sheets or criminal histories.
What’s On a Chicago Arrest Record?
Each person’s arrest record is unique because it includes personally identifying data, such as:
- Classification of the alleged crime
- Conviction information (if convicted)
- Information on monetary restitution, fines or other fees
- Information on incarceration
- Whether there is pending litigation
Some arrest records include whether a person has served in the military and whether they’ve received an honorable or dishonorable discharge.
Where Do You Get Chicago Arrest Records?
You can ask your expungement lawyer to conduct a criminal background check to find all of your arrest records. If you would prefer to get your Chicago arrest records yourself, you can visit the arresting agency or the Cook County Court to ask for a copy of your record.
The Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court is located at 2560 South California Avenue in Room 526.
Giving Your Chicago Arrest Records to Your Expungement Lawyer
If you get your own arrest records, give them to your attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will need all of your records – even if you’re not trying to expunge or seal some things – so it’s important that you’re thorough. If you’re not sure you can be completely thorough, it’s a good idea to as your attorney to find all your criminal records.
The sooner your lawyer has your records, the sooner he can begin working on your case. In the event that the state’s attorney objects to your petition for expungement, your lawyer can argue on your behalf.
Call an Expungement Lawyer Now
Whether you already have your arrest records or you need us to obtain them, we’ll be happy to look over your case and help you if you qualify for expungement. (If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still be eligible to have your criminal records sealed.)
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We’ll start evaluating your case right away.
Monday, January 18, 2016
How to Find the Best Expungement Lawyer for Your Needs in Chicago
If you’re like many people with a tarnished record, you wish you could have a fresh start – and through expungement, you can. Not everyone qualifies (you can find out if you qualify for expungement by answering a short questionnaire), but if you do, you may be able to erase your criminal record and move forward with your life.
Most people find that it’s a good idea to work with an expungement lawyer in Chicago to ensure that they file the correct paperwork with the correct agencies; an expungement attorney can also argue on your behalf if the state’s attorney feels that you don’t deserve to clear your record.
How do you find the best expungement lawyer for your needs, though? Aren’t all these attorneys the same?
How to Find the Best Expungement Lawyer for Your Needs in Chicago
The reality is that different attorneys have different personalities, work styles, and levels of motivation. In order to find the best expungement lawyer for your needs, it’s a good idea to interview a few to see if you’re a good fit.
What to Ask Expungement Lawyers
Before you settle on an attorney, you may feel more comfortable knowing that he or she has experience. While a brand-new lawyer may be just as talented and skilled as a more seasoned attorney is, there’s a certain level of expertise that most lawyers gain by actually practicing their craft.
Make sure to ask potential expungement attorneys:
- Have you handled expungement cases before?
- How long have you been practicing law in Chicago?
- What would you do if the state’s attorney objected to my expungement?
- How do you obtain background checks?
- How do I pay you for your services?
An experienced attorney will encourage you to ask questions like these; most lawyers want to ensure that you’re completely comfortable with their representation before you move forward.
Do You Need to Talk to an Expungement Lawyer in Chicago?
If you’re ready to find out whether you can get the fresh start you deserve, call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online for a free case review.
Monday, January 04, 2016
Expungement in Chicago: What You Need to Know
If you’re interested in expungement in Chicago, you need to know what it takes to clear your criminal record and what you can do about records that can’t be expunged.
Expungement in Chicago: What You Need to Know
In Chicago, as well as elsewhere in the state of Illinois, expungement is a legal process that essentially erases your criminal record.
What Records Qualify for Expungement in Chicago?
Once you’re arrested or charged with a crime, the Illinois legal system has a record with your name on it. Even if you’re let go without being charged, or if the state drops your charges, you’ll still have a record.
In many cases, you can have those arrests and charges removed from your record. In some cases, you can also have convictions removed from your record.
You can find out if you’re eligible for expungement in Chicago here.
How Do You Apply for Expungement in Chicago?
Expungement in Chicago is the same as expungement in the rest of the state. First, you’ll need to obtain your full criminal record (if you can’t, your lawyer may be able to do it for you).
Your attorney can file the appropriate paperwork with the Illinois court system. From there, he’ll find out whether the state’s attorney objects to the expungement of your criminal record.
If the state’s attorney does object, you’ll most likely have a chance to explain your case in front of a judge. Your attorney can represent you at that type of hearing, and many people feel that it’s beneficial to work with a lawyer who understands the way expungement works in Illinois.
What if Your Record Can't Be Expunged?
If you have things on your record that make you ineligible for expungement, you could still qualify for sealing. It's usually a good idea to talk to your attorney about your record so he can give you case-specific legal guidance.
Do You Need a Fresh Start?
If you’re thinking about applying for expungement in Chicago or any of the surrounding suburbs, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case and help you determine your next course of action.
Monday, December 21, 2015
Certificate of Expungement for Military Service Members
If you’ve been honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces – any branch, including the reserve components – you may be able to petition the Illinois Prisoner Review Board for a certificate of eligibility for expungement.
There are exceptions, though, so this may not apply to you.
Which Veterans Can Apply for a Certificate of Expungement?
Some veterans who have been convicted of some Class 3 or Class 4 felonies are eligible (if you’re not a veteran, you can check your eligibility for expungement here).
However, you cannot apply for a Certificate of Expungement for Military if you have been convicted of:
In order to successfully apply for this type of expungement eligibility, you’ll need to prove your service with your DD 214. If you don’t have a copy of your DD 214, you can get a free one from the National Archives Veterans’ Records Service. You can use the government’s eVetRecs system to request a copy online or you may request one by mail.
How to Expunge Your Criminal Record When You’re a Veteran
Many veterans find that it’s helpful to work with a Chicago expungement lawyer who can handle every aspect of the expungement process.
Provide your lawyer with a copy of your DD 214; he’ll need it to prove your service to the court and ensure that you’re qualified to receive a Certificate of Expungement for Military. Give your attorney a copy of your criminal record, as well.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board will be able to evaluate your situation. They can decide to grant or deny your petition; they can also request that you attend a public hearing in Chicago.
If you’re denied, you must wait 4 years before you file again. You must also wait 4 years before you file for an Executive Clemency or Certificate of Sealing unless the Chairman of the Board grants you a waiver.
Are You a Veteran Who Needs to Expunge a Criminal Record?
If you’re a veteran who wants to expunge a criminal record, call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We may be able to help you clear your record and get the fresh start that you deserve.
Monday, December 07, 2015
Criminal Record Sealing: New Law May Allow You to Seal Before Completing Your Sentence
Starting January 1, 2016, you may be able to get a fresh start sooner than you could’ve before.
A new amendment to the Criminal Identification Act lets someone who furthers his or her educational goals while completing a sentence apply for criminal record sealing without waiting for the law’s prescribed timeframe to expire.
So what does that mean in plain English?
The Amendment to the Criminal Identification Act
In order to take advantage of the new amendment to the Criminal Identification Act, you must further your education while completing your sentence. This can include earning a:
- High school diploma
- Career certificate
- Vocational technical certification
- Associate’s degree
- Bachelor’s degree
You can do this at any point during your sentence, whether you’ve just been sentenced, you’re participating in aftercare release or mandatory supervised release.
What the amendment allows you to do, provided that you’ve completed the educational requirements, is petition the court to seal your criminal record.
The catch is that you cannot have previously completed the same educational goal.
What Happens if Your Petition for Sealing is Denied?
If the court denies your petition for sealing at this time, you can apply again in the future. You’ll just have to wait until the applicable waiting period under the Illinois sealing law has expired.
Are You Eligible for Expungement Instead?
Some criminal records are eligible for expungement; those that aren’t are often eligible for sealing. (You can find out whether you’re eligible for expungement with our quick questionnaire.)
In either case, we may be able to get you the fresh start you deserve.
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online for a free case evaluation. We’ll look through the circumstances of your case and give you case-specific legal advice – and if you’re eligible for sealing or expungement, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Where to Get Your Criminal Record in Rolling Meadows
Rolling Meadows is part of District 3 of the Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court. If you’re looking for your criminal record in this jurisdiction, you have two options: you can ask your lawyer to obtain your criminal record for you or you can get it yourself.
How to Get Your Criminal Record in Rolling Meadows
You have the right to obtain your own criminal record, whether you live in Rolling Meadows or elsewhere in the Chicago area.
Under the Uniform Conviction Information Act, which has been an Illinois law for almost 30 years, the Illinois State Police (Bureau of Identification) maintain all the criminal conviction histories.
If you need to obtain your record, you must submit a Conviction Information Request form. The Illinois State Police can do two types of searches: a non-fingerprint conviction information request form and a fingerprint conviction information request form.
When you submit your request to the Bureau of Identification, you’ll also need a check or money order to pay for processing. A non-fingerprint information request currently costs $16; a fingerprint conviction information request currently costs $20.
You can get the forms directly from the state police or you can order them online (the police will mail them to you). There’s no charge to have the forms mailed to you, so if it’s not convenient for you to pick them up from the police station, it may be a good idea to request them through the police’s website.
What to Do With Your Background Check Information
Once you receive your record, you can bring it to your attorney so he can work on your criminal record clearing.
Your lawyer can help you get your record expunged or sealed provided that you qualify to do so. (If you’re not sure, you can find out whether you're eligible here.)
Monday, November 09, 2015
What's the Difference Between Expungement and Sealing?
If you’re like most people whose past criminal records are holding them back, you’re probably wondering what you can do to get the fresh start you deserve – and you’ve probably heard about expungement and sealing under Illinois law.
But what’s the difference between expunging and sealing a record in Illinois, and are you eligible to do either?
The Differences Between Expunging and Sealing
Expungement and sealing are two different ways to achieve similar results. The idea behind both is that you can remove or conceal parts of your criminal record from the general public.
However, each has different requirements. Further, different people can see different parts of your criminal history, depending on whether you expunge or seal your records.
Expungement in Illinois
A criminal record expungement completely erases some things from your record, which may include:
- Court supervisions
- Certain probations
However, you have to be eligible for expungement in Illinois; not everyone is. People who are not eligible for expungement may still be eligible for sealing.
Sealing in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, you may be able to seal some or all of your criminal record. Unlike expungement, sealing doesn’t erase your records – but it does hide them from most of the public. Law enforcement agencies and the military can still see your sealed record, and employers who are required by law to conduct background checks will still be able to view your sealed felony convictions.
In some cases, even Class 3 and Class 4 felonies can be sealed from public view.
What You Need for Expungement or Sealing
If you want to expunge or seal your criminal record, your lawyer will need your entire criminal history. In some cases, it’s best to ask your attorney to conduct a complete criminal background check.
Once you have your entire criminal history, your lawyer will be able to determine whether you’re eligible for expungement or sealing. You may have to go before the court (depending on your jurisdiction) before your criminal record can be cleared. If the state’s attorney objects, your lawyer will argue on your behalf.
Need Help with Expungement or Sealing in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or Schaumburg?
If you need help getting your criminal record expunged or sealed in Chicago or the surrounding communities, call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. If you qualify for either type of criminal record clearing, we’ll be able to help you get the fresh start you deserve.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Can You Seal Class 3 or Class 4 Felonies in Chicago, Illinois?
If you are like many people have been convicted of a Class 3 or Class 4 felony, you may be wondering whether you qualify to have your criminal records sealed from public view.
The good news is that certain Class 3 and Class 4 felonies are eligible for criminal record sealing. However, every case is different – and that means it’s a good idea to talk to a Chicago expungement and sealing attorney who can evaluate your situation and point you in the right direction.
Which Class 3 and Class 4 Felonies Can Be Sealed Through the Court?
A number of felonies can be sealed through the court system. Others may be sealable through the Prison Review Board, so it’s a good idea to ask your lawyer whether your convictions are eligible.
Some of the Class 3 and Class 4 felonies eligible for sealing through the court system include:
- Deceptive practices
- Possession of burglary tools
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance
- Retail theft
The Illinois Background Check
In order to have an accurate picture of your entire criminal record, which can affect your ability to get certain convictions sealed, your attorney will probably need to conduct an Illinois criminal background check for you. Naturally, you are welcome to get your own records. However, the process can be time consuming and require you to travel through different jurisdictions to obtain your records.
Do You Want Your Criminal Record Sealed?
It’s no secret that employers, landlords and others look at criminal records and make judgments about who you are as a person – even if your criminal record is old and contains things that you did when you were little more than a child.
If you’d like more information about sealing your criminal record in Chicago, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg or Skokie, call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We may be able to help you get the fresh start you deserve.
Monday, October 12, 2015
Can You Join the Military With a Criminal Record?
If you’re like many people who are considering joining the military, you’re wondering whether you can join the military with a criminal record.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, but here’s what you need to know.
Joining the Military With a Criminal Record
The military requires recruits to have what they call a “high moral character,” but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in if you have some type of record. In fact, the military sometimes grants waivers to people with existing criminal records. That said, it may be a good idea to have your arrest record expunged if you intend to join the military.
What Expungement Means
If your record is expunged, it no longer exists. You will still need to tell your military recruiter that you have been arrested in the past – it’s illegal to lie to gain enlistment into the military – but in the absence of a criminal record, you won’t need a waiver to get in.
How to Get Your Record Expunged to Join the Military
Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement. However, if yours is, you may want to talk to an expungement lawyer in Chicago who understands how the laws work and how to begin the expungement process.
Your lawyer needs your entire criminal record to get started. He will file a petition with the court to have your criminal record cleared, and if the state’s attorney objects, you’ll most likely have the opportunity to tell your site of the story in court through a hearing. Your lawyer can represent you at that hearing and argue your case.
Are You Trying to Join the Military With an Arrest Record Behind You?
If you are trying to join the military and you have an arrest record, we may be able to help you clear it to make the process easier.
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online to find out whether you are eligible for an expungement that may help you join the military.
Monday, September 28, 2015
How to Expunge a Criminal Record (It May Not Be As Easy As You Think)
If you’re like many people in Chicago, you’re wondering how to expunge a criminal record. Unfortunately, it may not be as easy as you think.
How to Expunge a Criminal Record
Many people choose to work with a criminal record clearing attorney who serves Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, because expunging a criminal record can be a long, difficult process.
The first thing you need to do if you would like to expunge a criminal record is to determine whether you are eligible. Although many records are eligible for expungement and sealing, many are not – and often, convictions can preclude you from applying for expungement.
Between you and your attorney, you will need to obtain your entire criminal background report. It’s important to know that if you have ever been arrested, you have a record.
If the court in your county requires a hearing, your lawyer can represent you there. Simply applying for expungement does not guarantee that it will happen. In fact, the state’s attorney may object to your petition. If he or she does so, you are entitled to a hearing before a judge. Again, your lawyer can represent you in court to argue your case.
In some cases, an expungement petition takes a significant amount of time to make its way through the court system.
Because not everyone is eligible for expungement, many people choose to have their records sealed instead.
Criminal Record Sealing
Unlike expungement, sealing a criminal record does not make it disappear. However, it does prevent many people from being able to view it.
Because landlords, employers and a number of other people are typically able to see arrest records because they are public record, it may be a good idea to try to expunge or seal yours.
Talk to a Chicago Expungement Lawyer to Find Out How to Expunge Your Criminal Record Today
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online to find out how we can help you expunge or seal your criminal record and get the fresh start you deserve.
Monday, September 14, 2015
4 Reasons to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged in Illinois
Many people in Chicago and the surrounding communities find that having a criminal record holds than back from doing the things they want to do and if you’re one of those people, a criminal record expungement may be the right choice for you.
If you’re eligible, a criminal record expungement can give you a fresh start.
4 Reasons to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged
There are many reasons you may choose to have your criminal record expunged, but some of the most common involve the negative repercussions of having a "rap sheet."
1. Insurance, Loans and Other Financial Reasons
In many cases, lenders and insurance companies are allowed to conduct criminal background checks. Unfortunately, this can translate into higher premiums and higher interest rates for you.
2. Housing Problems
Landlords often run criminal background checks because it is their responsibility to ensure that their Other tenants are safe. If a landlord feels that you may pose a risk to other tenants, even if you’ve never been convicted of a crime, he or she may choose not to rent to you.
3. Employability Issues
In some professional fields, people who have been charged with a crime may have difficulty finding and keeping a job. Further, some organizations may not let you volunteer for them if you’ve ever been arrested… even if you were never convicted of a crime.
4. Denial of Education and Educational Benefits
Some colleges and universities expel students who have criminal records. You may also be ineligible for financial aid – and with today’s college costs, that can put an end to your educational career.
Are You Eligible for Expungement?
Not everyone is eligible for expungement. Your Chicago expungement attorney can help you determine whether you meet Illinois’ criteria for criminal record clearing by conducting a thorough background check.
If you are eligible for expungement, your lawyer will be able to file the appropriate paperwork. If the state’s attorney objects to your expungement, your lawyer will be able to argue on your behalf.
Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you’re having trouble finding housing, employment or other things you need because of your criminal record, a Chicago expungement lawyer may be able to help.
Call us at 847-920-4540 or contact us online. If you are eligible, we can help you move forward with your life.