Chicago Criminal Expungements Blog
Monday, April 11, 2016
Expungement and sealing are two different legal processes, but both have similar results: some or all of your criminal record will be hidden from public view.
So what are the key differences between expungement and criminal record sealing?
Expungement vs. Sealing in Illinois
You may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record whether or not you’ve been convicted of a crime.
If you were arrested, or arrested and charged but not convicted, you could have a criminal record that’s eligible for either expungement or sealing. However, in order to qualify for expungement, you must never have been convicted of a crime (with a few exceptions, including Read more . . .
Monday, March 28, 2016
If you’re like many people, you’re wondering about felony expungement in Chicago, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg or Skokie.
The bottom line is that while some felony expungement cases are possible, the vast majority of felonies can’t be expunged. Some can be sealed, but that doesn’t apply to all cases. (It’s usually a good idea to find out if you qualify for expungement before you talk to an attorney.)
Felony Expungement: When is it Possible?
If the state has convicted you of non-felony crimes or some Class 4 felonies, your criminal record may be eligible for sealing. Sealing isn’t the same as expungement, but it does hide your criminal record (or portions of your criminal record) from public view.
Can You Ever Get a Felony Expunged?
For the most part, you can’t have your record expunged if you were convicted of a crime. However, if you are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may qualify for expungement – but only if the conviction was non-violent, non-sexual and not gun-related. If you’re a veteran who wants a criminal record expunged, you should talk to a Chicago expungement lawyer about your case.
Most felony convictions cannot be expunged, but it’s always a good idea to talk to an expungement attorney to find out what type of relief you may be eligible for under Illinois law.
What to Do if You’re Eligible for Felony Expungement
If your record is eligible for felony expungement in Illinois, you’ll need to gather all the documents necessary to push the case through the court system. This can include:
- Police reports
- Court documents with docket numbers or case numbers
- Original case information, such as dismissals, dispositions and other findings
- All of your sentencing information
If you have a tough time finding all the required information, talk to your attorney. He may be able to get the information by conducting a thorough criminal background check.
Could You Qualify for Felony Expungement in Illinois?
Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online so we can evaluate your case. You may qualify for felony expungement under Illinois law, and if you do, we can help.
Monday, March 14, 2016
The types of convictions on your “rap sheet” matter when you’re trying to get your criminal record expunged in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois.
However, not everything counts as a conviction. In fact, there are many types of criminal records that don’t count as convictions.
What Criminal Records Are Convictions?
Convictions always include a finding of guilt. Typically, you’ll have some sort of sentence attached to a conviction, such as:
- Supervision that you do not successfully complete
- Conditional discharges
- Jail time
- Prison time
- Time considered “served”
- Regular probation (other than 710, 1410 or TASC probation)
What Criminal Records Are Not Convictions?
Many people ask Chicago expungement attorneys about which criminal records count as convictions, and for good reason—it can be confusing.
For example, supervision is not always part of a conviction, provided that you satisfied the conditions of the supervision. However, if you didn’t successfully complete your supervision (meaning that it was revoked or terminated unsatisfactorily), you will need to talk to your attorney about whether it counts as a conviction.
Other criminal records that do not count as convictions include:
- Nolle Prosequi (NP)
- Stricken Off With Leave to Reinstate (SOL)
- Finding of No Probable Cause (FNPC)
- Released Without Charging (RWOC)
- Finding or Verdict of Not Guilty (either FNG or VNG)
- Successful completion of TASC probation
- Successful completion of 710 or 1410 probation
- Convictions approved for expungement by Prisoner Review Board
- Convictions that were reversed or vacated
Do You Qualify for Expungement?
You can take our quick questionnaire, Do I Qualify for Expungement, to find out whether you may qualify for a criminal record expungement. If you don’t qualify for expungement, you may still qualify for criminal record sealing. Even if you don’t qualify for either, you may still have options.
If you’re not sure, call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case and help you get on the right track for a fresh start.
Monday, February 29, 2016
If you’re like many people, if you want to expunge or seal your record in Cook County. However, it’s important that you know not everyone qualifies to do so.
You can take our simple questionnaire to determine whether you qualify for expungement in Chicago or you can review the following checklist before calling a Chicago expungement attorney.
How to Gather Documents for a Chicago Expungement
You’ll need your entire criminal history before you can petition the court for expungement. If you are unable to gather all the required documents, your lawyer may be able to run a complete background check for you.
What Information Do You Need?
You’ll need the following information for each arrest on your record:
- The case number
- The date of your arrest
- The name of the arresting agency
- The charges brought against you
- The disposition in the case (the disposition is the final outcome of the case)
- The date each case was completed (such as the date your probation ended)
- The “chief legal officer of the unit of local government that affected the arrest”
- The state’s attorney or the prosecutor that prosecuted your case
Can You Expunge Convictions?
There are very few convictions that can be expunged from a criminal record. You’ll have to talk to your Chicago expungement lawyer to determine whether your record qualifies for expungement; if it doesn’t, you could still be eligible for criminal record sealing.
You won’t be able to expunge your record if you’re in the middle of a case (one that doesn’t have a final deposition yet).
However, if you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, you may be able to expunge certain Class 3 or Class 4 felonies.
Do You Need Help Expunging or Sealing Your Record in Chicago?
If you need help with an expungement or sealing, call a Chicago expungement lawyer as soon as possible.
You can call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online to discuss your eligibility and options – we’re always here to help.
Monday, February 15, 2016
If you’re like many people in the state of Illinois, you’d like to know how you can get the fresh start you deserve after having a criminal record.
For some people, expungement is an option. For others, though, it’s not – and many of those people end up having their criminal records sealed. Often, it’s a good idea to work with an expungement and sealing lawyer in Chicago who understands the ins and outs of the process.
How to Seal a Criminal Record in Illinois
Many people come to us and ask, “Can you seal a criminal record in Illinois?”
The answer is yes – in some, but not all, cases.
What is Criminal Record Sealing?
Criminal record sealing is similar to expungement, except that your criminal record will still exist. However, it won’t be available to the public, which affords you a measure of privacy that you don’t have when your criminal record is public.
What Cases Are Eligible for Sealing in Illinois?
Typically, many misdemeanor or municipal ordinance violations in criminal or traffic cases can be sealed in Illinois. However, other items on your criminal record may affect your eligibility for criminal record sealing.
What is a Rap Sheet?
If you’re filing a petition to seal your criminal record in Chicago, you’ll have to get a copy of your rap sheet.
A rap sheet is your criminal history. Technically, it’s called Criminal History Record Information, or CHRI. It’s available through the Chicago Police, but if you’re having a tough time getting the information you need, you can ask your lawyer to run a criminal background check to get it for you.
Do You Need Help Sealing Your Criminal Record in Illinois?
If you need to seal a criminal record in Illinois, we may be able to help you. If you’d like, you can use our quick questionnaire to determine whether you’re eligible for expungement.
When you’re ready, call a Chicago expungement and sealing lawyer at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online. We’ll be happy to evaluate your case and help you file for criminal record sealing in Illinois.
Monday, February 1, 2016
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
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 4, 2016
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
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 7, 2015
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
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.)