Many people are surprised to discover that they have criminal records – and those records can be due to simple things such as arrests and picking up criminal charges. But if the state drops its charges against you, will you still have a record? This guide explains.
Do Dropped Charges Show Up on Your Criminal Record?
As soon as you’re “booked” – that is, as soon as you’re processed in jail after being arrested for the first time, the state of Illinois begins compiling a criminal record on you. Your arrest, regardless of what happens next, will remain on your criminal record until you do something to remove it.
Related: What happens when a landlord sees your criminal record?
Then, when the state officially charges you with a crime, those charges go on your record. When you go to trial, the results of your trial become part of your record, too.
It doesn’t matter what the outcome is; the state of Illinois puts everything on your record and keeps track of it all unless you take action to remove incidents. (Naturally, if the police arrest you and then release you, there’s nothing other than the arrest for them to track.)
Related: What information do you need to expunge or seal your criminal record?
How Can You Get Dropped Charges Off Your Criminal Record in Illinois?
Generally, dropped charges are eligible for expungement or sealing.
Expungement is the process that erases your record so it no longer exists, and sealing is the process that makes your record private, so most people won’t be able to see it. There’s a key difference between the two, though: When your criminal record is expunged, it no longer exists. That’s because the agencies that have it destroy it or return it to you. When it’s sealed, your record still exists, but only certain people can see it. Usually, these people are those who work for the court system, law enforcement officers and employers that use fingerprint based background checks to vet prospective employees.
Many people choose to work with an attorney to expunge or seal dropped charges in Illinois. That’s because expungement and ceiling can be complicated processes, and because they require a significant amount of paperwork. For most people who choose to work with an attorney, the main idea is that they don’t have to concern themselves with filling out and filing the appropriate forms in the right places.
Related: Can USCIS see sealed criminal records?
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?
If you’re tired of your criminal past coming back to bite you, we may be able to help. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.
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