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…
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
- 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.