Chicago Criminal Expungements Blog

Friday, July 3, 2015

How Can Employers Use Your Criminal History Against You?

We’ve all heard of potential employers scouring through social media profiles to find out more about the people they may hire, but what about criminal records? Just how much can a potential employer learn about you – and what can they use against you?

How Can Employers Use Your Criminal History Against You in Illinois?

About 65 million Americans have criminal records, and statistics show that about 92 percent of employers actually conduct criminal background checks for some positions within their ranks. That means it could be tough to compete for a job… particularly in this economy.

Illinois law clearly states that employers can’t ask about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged. They can’t ask about arrests, either, and even if they know about an arrest, employers cannot use it to decide whether they’ll hire you.

They can request your permission to conduct a criminal background check, though, under these conditions:

  • You must give written consent to a background check
  • The employer must tell you if they will disqualify you based on what comes back in the criminal background check – and they must also give you a copy of the report
  • The employer must notify you after they decide not to hire you based on information that was in your criminal history

Employers can check your record, but only with your consent. Further, they can decline to offer you a position based on what’s in your criminal record. However, there’s more to it.

Before an employer decides not to hire you, they are supposed to consider:

  • How serious the crime was
  • How long ago the crime occurred
  • Whether the job and your past crime are incompatible

If you have a criminal record and you’re having a tough time getting a job, it might be a good idea to see if you qualify for an expungement under Illinois law. If you don’t, you may still qualify to have your record sealed. A Chicago sealing and expungement lawyer may be able to help you leave the past behind and move forward with your life.

Friday, June 19, 2015

What to Ask Your Chicago Expungement Lawyer

If you’re like most people who are interested in getting a Chicago criminal record expunged, you might find that it’s easiest to work with an attorney who already knows the ropes and who’s done it successfully for other people.

But where do you even begin?

What to Ask Your Chicago Expungement Lawyer

You can always ask your attorney anything – he’ll be more than happy to use his in-depth knowledge of Illinois law to help you.

When it comes to expungement, though, there are a few things you should ask your lawyer so you know what to expect throughout the process.

1. Where will you get my criminal record?

You may already have copies; maybe you tried Illinois criminal record clearing before or you had the foresight to get your records on your own. If you don’t have your criminal record, your attorney can usually get it for you.

2. Does my record qualify for expungement?

Not all records do qualify for expungement, but the good news is that many qualify for criminal record sealing in Illinois.

3. How long does the expungement process take in Cook County?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, your lawyer will be able to determine how long your case will probably take. It depends on the location, the breadth of your case and the courts’ current schedules. You’ll also have to wait for the clerk of court to process your paperwork; there are some other variables, as well.

Would You Like to Clear Your Criminal Record in Chicago?

Check out our quick questionnaire, “Am I Eligible for Expungement?” to get a head start on the expungement or sealing process. If you may be eligible, call us at 847-920-4540 so we can get started on processing your case. The sooner we petition the court for expungement or sealing, the sooner they can approve it… and the sooner you can get the fresh start that you deserve.


Friday, June 5, 2015

What Criminal Records Cannot Be Expunged in Chicago?

The unfortunate truth is that some crimes cannot be expunged in Chicago or the rest of Illinois.

In order to qualify for expungement in Illinois, your record must meet certain criteria. With that said, there are some crimes that make you ineligible for expungement.

What Criminal Records Cannot Be Expunged in Chicago?

If you have charges pending right now, you can't have anything expunged. You'll have to wait until the case is resolved before your  lawyer can take any action to clear your criminal record.

Some convictions can never be expunged from your record. For example, DUI and reckless driving cases cannot be expunged if you have been convicted. Sexual offenses committed by a minor (under the age of 18) cannot be expunged if you were sentenced to supervision for them.

You can't expunge your record if you have any offenses that resulted in a conviction, unless the conviction has been reversed, vacated, pardoned or approved by the Prisoner Review Board for expungement. 

If you're found guilty and have received a sentence of:

  • Conditional discharges
  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Prison time
  • Probation (not including 710, 1410 or TASC probation)
  • Supervision that you have not successfully completed
  • Time served

If you have a conviction on your record that doesn't qualify for expungement, you are not eligible to have any of your record expunged.

However, many offenses don't result in convictions. Those cases can include outcomes such as:

  • Convictions that were pardoned by the governor
  • Convictions that were approved for expungement by the Prisoner Review Board
  • Convictions that were reversed or vacated
  • Nolle prosequi (NP)
  • Supervision, as long as you satisfied the conditions of the supervision set forth during sentencing
  • Stricken off with leave to reinstate
  • Non-suit
  • Finding of no probable cause
  • Dismissals
  • Released without charging
  • Successful completion of First Time Offender drug probation, such as 710 or 1410 probation
  • Not guilty verdicts

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cook County Expungements: What to Expect

If you're like many people with a few blemishes on your criminal record, you could be a good candidate for expungement. Cook County and the state of Illinois have specific procedures in place to help people get a fresh start – but in order to take advantage of what the county and the state have to offer, you first must determine whether you’re eligible for expungement. Most people use our “Am I Eligible for Expungement in Illinois?” tool to get started.

Remember: even if you’ve been arrested and released, or if your case was dismissed, you have a criminal record in Illinois. The only way your criminal record will “disappear” is if you have those records expunged or sealed.

Cook County Expungements: What to Expect

If you are eligible for expungement, it’s usually a good idea to get in touch with an attorney who can walk you through the entire process.

Your lawyer will need copies of your arrest records and any other legal documents you have. If you don’t have them, that’s okay, too – in most cases, we can conduct an in-depth background check to determine exactly what’s on your criminal record in Chicago and the rest of the state.

Once we have all the information we need, we’ll file a petition with the court to ask them to review your case.

The state’s attorney can look at your petition and decide whether he or she wants to fight your expungement or sealing. If the state’s attorney objects, you might be entitled to a hearing to find out why – and state your side of the case.

If that happens, your Chicago expungement lawyer will represent you in court to ensure that the judge hears your side of the story.

We know it can be tough to get a job, find a place to live and do a number of other things if you have a criminal record, so it can’t hurt to find out whether you’re eligible for an expungement in Cook County or the rest of Illinois.



Friday, May 8, 2015

When Do You Need a Background Check Lawyer in Chicago?

Lots of people conduct background checks; potential employers, landlords and others want to know who you are and what you bring to the table.

Unfortunately, what they find can send them running in the other direction.

Do you know exactly what’s on your criminal record?

When Do You Need a Background Check Lawyer in Chicago?

If you suspect that there might be a few blemishes – or if you know there are a few blemishes – on your criminal record, you might consider hiring a background check lawyer to find out exactly what they are.

In some cases, a background check lawyer can perform the groundwork that lets you petition the court for an expungement of your record. Remember, though, not everyone is eligible for expungement. (You can answer a few simple questions on our Am I Eligible for Expungement? questionnaire to find out whether it’s an option for you.)

Do People Need My Consent to Run a Background Check in Chicago?

For the most part, an employer or property owner needs to ask for your permission to conduct a thorough background check. He or she will be able to gather some information without your consent, such as items that are a matter of public record or things that you’ve put out there yourself (Facebook posts and Twitter feeds are often more telling than we intend them to be).

What Comes Up on an Illinois Background Check?

A thorough Illinois background check will show arrests, convictions and sentences. That means even if you were not convicted of a crime, someone conducting a thorough background check may be able to see that you were arrested.

Some employers may deny you a job opportunity, and some landlords may choose another tenant. While that’s not fair – particularly if your criminal record is old and you’ve made changes for the better – it still happens.

If you are eligible for expungement, you may be able to erase your criminal record so that it will not come up in background checks conducted in Chicago or the rest of Illinois. In cases such as these, many people find that it's a good idea to work with a Chicago background check attorney who also helps with expungements and criminal record sealing.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Am I Eligible for Expungement in Chicago and Cook County?

If you live in Cook County, you could be eligible to expunge your criminal record and get a fresh start. Imagine: no potential employers finding out that you have a criminal record, landlords refusing to rent to you because you’ve been arrested before…

It’s possible.

But how do you know if you qualify for expungement in Chicago or the rest of Cook County?

Do You Qualify for Expungement in Chicago/Cook County?

In order to determine whether you qualify for expungement, you can get in touch with a Cook County expungement lawyer who can help you understand Illinois law.

Before you do that, though, ask yourself these four questions:

1. Do you have any pending charges, or are you involved in a court case that is still open? In order to qualify for expungement in Cook County, you must not be involved in any current court cases. You must wait until you’re no longer on parole, probation or under court supervision, as well.

2. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (any branch) who has been honorably discharged? If so, was the crime you were convicted of violent, sexual or gun-related? Honorably discharged veterans convicted of Class 3 or Class 4 felonies may be eligible for expungement, as long as the crime was nonviolent, not sexual in nature, and did not involve a gun.

3. Were you on “Second Chance Probation”? Have you successfully completed it? People who were given “Second Chance Probation” and have successfully completed it do not have an actual conviction on their records; that means you may be able to have it expunged or sealed.

4. Do your court dispositions only include these terms?:

  • Acquittal (not guilty)
  • Stricken with Leave (SOL)
  • Finding of No Probable Cause (FNPC)
  • Nolle Prosequi (NP)
  • No charges filed
  • Dismissal
  • Supervision
  • TASC probation

If you have convictions on your record but have some charges with these dispositions, you are probably not eligible for expungement. However, you may be able to have some portions of your criminal record sealed.

Your best bet is to talk with a Chicago/Cook County expungement lawyer who can explain your rights and help determine whether you’re eligible to clear your criminal record.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to Get Your Criminal Records in Skokie, Schaumburg or Rolling Meadows

If you want to have some or all of your criminal record expunged in Cook County, Illinois, your attorney will need copies of every record that authorities have on file. While your lawyer can conduct a background check for you, you can also get your own records and bring them to your appointment.

Types of Cook County Criminal Records

There are three main types of criminal records:

1. Local arrest records. Your local arrest records will show all your arrests and charges, as well as the outcomes of any court cases you have been a party to.

2. State arrest records. Your state arrest records will show all of your convictions within the state of Illinois.

3. Court dispositions. Court dispositions are simply the final judgment in a court case you have been part of; you won’t have court dispositions if you weren’t arrested or charged.

While there are a few exceptions, you usually can’t expunge your record if a Cook County court has convicted you of a crime.

How to Get Your Criminal Records in Skokie, Schaumburg or Rolling Meadows

Most people choose to have their expungement lawyer get their criminal records because it’s much simpler. However, if you want to get your own, you’ll need to visit the arresting agency – the police department that arrested and booked you – to get a copy of your arrest records.

If you have been convicted of a crime, your Illinois state records will reflect that; you can get those records from the Illinois State Police. Remember, in most cases, you cannot expunge convictions from your record. However, you might be able to seal them, so it’s a good idea to talk to your lawyer about your options if you want a fresh start.

You can also get copies of court dispositions from the courthouse at which you were tried. You’ll need to talk to the clerk of the court to find out what that court’s procedures are.

There are usually fees involved with all criminal record requests, as well as with court disposition requests. Check with the agency that has your records to see whether they accept credit cards, cash or checks.

If you’d like to make the process simpler, feel free to call us at 847-920-4540 or contact us online. We can pull your criminal record for you and then give you case-specific legal advice on how to proceed with your expungement or sealing.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

New Governor, New Pardons: Gov. Bruce Rauner Issues First Two Pardons

Governor Bruce Rauner (R) issued his first two pardons in the state of Illinois in early April, and there's still a considerable backlog for him to work his way through. His office rejected 57 out of the 59 clemency requests, and he's still facing thousands left behind by former Governor Pat Quinn. (Quinn reviewed nearly 5,000 petitions, granting about 1,800 of them and denying the rest.) Read more...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Cook County Expungement FAQ

If you’re living in Cook County, the expungement rules are the same as they are in DuPage, Lake and Will Counties; in fact, they’re the same all over Illinois.

But what are those rules? Could you be eligible for expungement, and if you are, how do you go about getting it done?

This quick expungement FAQ should point you in the right direction.

What convictions can be expunged from a criminal record in Cook County?

A handful of misdemeanors (and in rare cases, Class 3 and Class 4 felonies) can be expunged from your record. Some examples include:

  • Possession of cannabis
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Retail theft
  • Domestic battery
  • Criminal sexual abuse

One of the biggest determining factors in whether you are eligible for expungement is the type of sentence you received at the conclusion of your case.

If you have no conviction and your case resulted in an acquittal or dismissal, or a handful of other dispositions, you may also qualify for expungement.

How do I find out if I qualify for expungement in Illinois?

We can help you determine whether you’re eligible for expungement. Just provide a few answers on our questionnaire: Do I Qualify for Expungement?

Where do I get my criminal history?

To make things simpler, you can have a lawyer perform a background check for you. You can also get in touch with the arresting agency to determine what procedures they follow for releasing criminal records.

What if I don’t have my entire criminal history?

It’s important that you bring your entire criminal history to your Chicago expungement lawyer. That’s because qualifying for expungement depends on all of the other things on your record. Having your lawyer pull your criminal background report may be more effective at ensuring you have all of the information you need.

Could You Be Eligible for Expungement?

Call the Law Offices of M. Fakhoury at 847-920-4540 or contact us online for a free consultation. We may be able to help you clear your record and get the fresh start that you deserve.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Veterans and Expungement in Illinois

For the most part, anyone with a conviction on his or her criminal record cannot have the record expunged. However, there’s one group who can.

Every case is different, but if you were honorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces, you might be able to have your conviction expunged.

Honorably Discharged Veterans and Expungement

Some veterans who have been convicted of certain Class 3 or Class 4 felonies are eligible for expungement in the state of Illinois.

Class 3 and Class 4 felonies that veterans can have expunged must be:

  • Non-violent
  • Non-sexual
  • Non-gun-related

Remember that every case is different, though, so it’s best to talk to a Chicago expungement attorney who can help you determine whether your record is eligible for expungement.

The statute says, “Persons who have been convicted of Class 3 or 4 felonies and thereafter served in the United States Armed Forces or National Guard and received an honorable discharge, may now file a petition before the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to seek a certificate of eligibility for expungement. Additionally, persons who at the time of filing such a petition are enlisted in the United States Armed Forces or National Guard and who have served one tour of duty may also file such a petition.”

What Your Lawyer Will Need to Help Expunge Your Record

Once your attorney determines that you’re eligible for expungement, he’ll need some things from you. If you have a copy of your arrest records, any court paperwork or any written records that pertain to your conviction and sentence, your lawyer will need to see them. He’ll also need your DD-214 in order to properly argue the case that you deserve an expungement.

Block 24 of your DD-214 shows your “Character of Service”; that is the type of discharge you received from the Armed Forces. Your lawyer can point you in the right direction if you have an Under Honorable Conditions discharge, rather than a traditional Honorable discharge, because every situation is unique.

If you no longer have a copy of your DD-214, you can request one through the National Archives’ eVetRecs service.



Friday, February 27, 2015

Concealed Carry Permits and Expungements in Chicago

Now that you're allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Chicago, it might be a good idea to get your criminal record expunged if you want to get a permit.

While an arrest record doesn't necessarily preclude you from being approved for a concealed carry permit, it could have an effect on whether law enforcement agencies object to you having one.

Eligibility for Concealed Carry Permits in Illinois

According to the Illinois State Police

"If an applicant has 5 or more arrests for any reason, that have been entered into the Criminal History Records Information (CHRI) System, within the 7 years preceding the date of application for a license, or has 3 or more arrests within the 7 years preceding the date of application for a license for any combination of gang-related offenses, the Department shall object and submit the applicant's arrest record, the application materials, and any additional information submitted by a law enforcement agency to the Board."

That means you could be denied a concealed carry permit based on old arrests that have nothing to do with your character or who you are today.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry Permit in Illinois

Once you have your prior arrests cleared from your record, you still need to meet the state's other requirements. Those requirements include:

  • 16 hours of concealed carry training provided by an ISP-approved instructor, as well as an electric copy of the training certificates
  • An Illinois digital ID
  • A driver's license or state ID card
  • A valid FOID card
  • An electronic head-and-shoulder photograph taken within the previous 30 days
  • Fingerprints
  • Documentation for the last 10 years of your residence history

If the approving law enforcement agency deems that you have too many prior arrests on your record, or if they find another reason to object to your application, you could be denied. (The $150 application fee is non-refundable.)

Talking to a Lawyer About Expungement

If you have arrests on your record, it's a good idea to talk to an attorney about expungement. It could make the difference in whether you're approved for a concealed carry permit as well as provide you with several other benefits.

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