Stop letting your criminal record hold you back – it doesn’t have to define you now or in the future. In fact, you may be eligible for criminal record expungement or sealing in Bridgeview. XpungeChicago can help.
Expungement in Bridgeview, IL
Expungement is the only way the state of Illinois has to completely clear your criminal record. If your record is expunged, it no longer exists – you don’t have to tell employers, creditors or anyone else that you were ever arrested. Your record is completely clean, like nothing ever happened.
Who Qualifies for Expungement in Bridgeview?
Some criminal offenses are not eligible for expungement – but don’t worry. If your record doesn’t qualify for expungement, it may still qualify for sealing (more on that later).
Here’s what’s eligible for expungement in Bridgeview:
Arrests for misdemeanors and felonies that never resulted in a conviction
Convictions that have been reversed, vacated or pardoned by the governor, or that have been approved by the Prisoner Review Board
Sentences for qualified probation, after a waiting period
Sentences for supervision, after a waiting period
Some nonviolent Class 3 and Class 4 felonies if you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Forces
It’s okay if only some of the offenses on your record are eligible for expungement. The rest may be eligible for criminal record sealing instead. You can still ask the court to expunge eligible records.
In some cases, you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can ask the court to expunge things from your record, which the table below outlines.
Dismissed or Dropped Charges
Sentenced to Supervision
Sentenced to Special Probation
Immediate. You can ask the court to clear your record right away if your case is dismissed or the charges against you are dropped.
Immediate.You don’t have to wait to ask the court to clear your record when you’re found not guilty of a crime. There is no waiting period.
2 years. The law usually requires you to wait until two years have passed since you successfully completed your supervision.
5 years.The law usually requires you to wait until five years have passed since you successfully completed your probation.
How to Expunge Your Record in Bridgeview
Expunging your record can take time – in fact, it may take several months for your paperwork to end up on a judge’s desk. Generally, all expungement petitions follow the same path. Here’s how it typically happens:
Step 1: Meeting with an attorney
You meet with a Bridgeview expungement attorney to explain your situation and discuss why you need your records expunged. (You don’t have to justify it to your lawyer – but knowing why you need an expungement will help your lawyer draft your petition.)
Step 2: Background check
Your attorney will conduct a background check to get your full criminal history, which he’ll need during the expungement process.
Step 3: Eligibility determination
Your attorney will figure out whether your record is eligible for expungement. Some offenses on your record may be eligible for expungement, and others may not – and that’s okay. Often, offenses that aren’t eligible for expungement are still eligible for criminal record sealing. (And unfortunately, some criminal records are not eligible for either. Your attorney will let you know about your situation after he reviews your complete criminal history.)
Step 4: Supporting documentation
You provide your attorney with supporting documentation that helps show the judge why you deserve expungement. You may be required to submit some things, like negative drug test results, and some things may be optional (like high school equivalency certificates or college diplomas, or proof of voluntary community service).
Step 5: Petition
Your attorney will create a petition – that’s the legal term for a packet of documents – for your expungement. In it, he’ll ask the court to clear your record of all eligible offenses.
Step 6: Filing
Your attorney will file your petition with the court. You’ll also pay the filing fee.
Step 7: Review by interested parties
The state’s attorney will read your petition and review your case. He or she might choose to object to the petition or to forward it on to the next interested party. If the state’s attorney objects to your petition, you may be eligible for a hearing – and during that hearing, your lawyer can argue that you do deserve a fresh start. Other parties who have an interest in objecting or agreeing, such as police, also get to review your petition.
Step 8: Judicial review
When your petition makes it to the judge’s desk, he or she will review the entire packet – including the state’s attorney’s recommendation (and other recommendations). The judge will make a decision on whether you’re eligible to expunge your record.
Step 9: Clearing
If the judge approves your petition, he or she will issue an order to the County Clerk, the arresting agency, the Illinois State Police and the FBI telling each agency to clear your record. Those agencies will either destroy your records or return them to you – they will not keep copies, so it’s like nothing ever happened.
Can Anyone See Expunged Records in Bridgeview?
Nobody in Bridgeview – or anywhere else, for that matter – will be able to see your expunged records. The agencies that have records on you will destroy them or return them to you, so there are no records for anyone to see.
What to Do if Your Record Doesn’t Qualify for Expungement in Bridgeview
If your record doesn’t qualify for expungement in Bridgeview, don’t lose hope – it may qualify for criminal record sealing. Sealing is almost the same as expungement, except your records still exist… and a select number of people can still access them. Landlords, creditors, most employers, and the rest of the general public cannot see sealed records.
Who Can See Sealed Records?
Only a handful of people are authorized access to sealed criminal records in Bridgeview (or anywhere else). Sealed records do not come up on standard background checks, which means you don’t have to tell anyone that you even have a record. They do come up on fingerprint-based background checks, though – and that’s the key difference. People who can still see sealed criminal records include:
The Illinois State Police
Prosecutors who are working in an official capacity (such as prosecuting you for a different crime)
Judges and those who work in the court system
The Department of Corrections (if you’re later convicted of another offense)
Some employers that require fingerprint-based background checks, such as the military and law enforcement, as well as some schools and healthcare facilities
What Records Are Eligible for Criminal Record Sealing in Bridgeview?
Most misdemeanor and felony convictions are eligible for sealing. There are some exceptions, though, for things like violent crimes, some driving offenses, and crimes involving animals. If you aren’t sure whether your record qualifies for sealing, we’ll be happy to tell you during a free case review – just call us at 847-920-4540.
Records You Cannot Seal
Some things must stay on your criminal record – you can’t expunge or seal them, no matter how much time has passed or what you’ve done since, including:
Violation of an order of protection, a civil no-contact order or a stalking no-contact order
Ready to Discuss Your Eligibility and Options With a Bridgeview Expungement Attorney?
You don’t have to let your criminal record hold you back – we may be able to help you clear your name. We will:
Create your complete expungement petition
File your petition and supporting documentation
Keep track of where your petition is during the process – and keep you updated
Represent you at a hearing if the state’s attorney objects to your expungement
File a motion to reconsider if the judge decides not to expunge your record
You don’t have to do anything – we will handle it all for you.
The bottom line is this: We know the cards have been stacked against you, and we know it’s hard (almost impossible, even) to get ahead when you have a criminal record lurking in your past, just waiting to take you down. We’ve helped hundreds of people in Bridgeview and nearby cities get the fresh starts they deserve – and we may be able to help you, too.
Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below now. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. We’ll answer all your questions and work hard to get you the fresh start you deserve.
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