Criminal Record Sealing: New Law May Allow You to Seal Before Completion

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
  • GED

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.