If you have an animal cruelty conviction on your record, you may be wondering if you’re eligible for criminal record clearing – either sealing or expungement. This guide explains whether you can seal animal cruelty crimes from your criminal record in Illinois.
You cannot seal an animal cruelty conviction covered under the Humane Care for Animals Act. You can’t expunge it, either. (Many other criminal records are eligible for sealing or expungement, though.)
However, if you were never convicted, you can clear your criminal record.
What Does “Never Convicted” Mean?
Sometimes the police arrest people and charge them with crimes – but those charges never go anywhere, or the person goes to trial and a judge or jury finds them not guilty. If that happened in your case, you were never convicted, and that means you’re eligible to seal or expunge your record.
Generally, you can seal or expunge your arrests and charges if:
- The police let you go without charging you
- The police charge you, but later drop the charges
- Your case is dismissed
- You go to court and go through a trial, but the judge or jury finds you not guilty
That’s true for any crime – not just animal cruelty crimes. However, a conviction for an animal cruelty offense that falls under the Humane Care for Animals Act must remain on your criminal record forever. It is not eligible for expungement or sealing, even if other items on your criminal history are eligible.
Related: Criminal records of domestic violence
Should You Clear Your Record?
If you have a criminal record that’s eligible for sealing or expungement, you may want to go through the process to clear it. Doing so can give you a fresh start because you won’t have to tell employers, landlords or others about your record. If your record is expunged, it’s completely erased, and if it’s sealed, most of the general public will never know it’s there.
Related: What do the abbreviations on a RAP sheet mean?
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?
If you need to speak with an attorney about clearing your criminal record, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 now or fill out the form below for a free consultation.