If you’re like many people, you’ve heard the common myth that felonies fall off your criminal record after seven years. It’s not true, which this guide explains.
Do Felonies Go Away After 7 Years in Illinois?
Through to a popular myth that has been circulating for decades, felonies don’t disappear off your criminal record after seven years. In fact, they never disappear off your criminal record unless you take steps to have them removed.
Even then, some felonies may never come off your record. If you have convictions for any violent crimes, including many crimes against animals, they must remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
However, a large number of felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for criminal record sealing. That’s true even if you were convicted and jailed for these crimes.
Related: The complete guide to expunging your FBI record
What’s Criminal Record Sealing?
Criminal record ceiling is very similar to expungement, but there’s one key difference. When your record is expunged, it no longer exists; when your record is sealed, it still exists, but most people can’t see it.
How Do You Get Rid of Felonies on Your Illinois Criminal Record?
You can’t expunge felonies from your criminal record unless you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces and you were convicted of certain Class three or Class 4 felonies. However, you may expunge arrests for felonies, as long as you were never convicted of the crime.
If you were convicted of a felony and aren’t an honorably discharged member of the U.S. armed forces, sealing is your only available option.
Related: Does a criminal record stay with you forever?
Why Sealing May Be Your Best Option – And It’s Still a Good One
When your record isn’t eligible for expungement, sealing is your next best option. It’s a very good option, in fact.
The sealing process is very similar to the expungement process. Your attorney will fill out and file a petition with the court requesting that your records be sealed, and your petition will make its way through the normal channels until it arrives on a judges desk. The judge will make a decision and notify you of the results.
When your criminal record is sealed, the general public can’t see it. That means an average person running a criminal background check won’t ever discover that you’ve been convicted of a crime. However, it’s important to note that many people will still be able to see your records. For example, employers that run FBI fingerprint checks, law enforcement officers, and people working for the court system in an official capacity will still know that you have a criminal record.
Related: How long does it take to seal a criminal record in Illinois?
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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