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Expungement in Orland Park, IL - Expungement Lawyer Matthew M. Fakhoury

If you live in Orland Park or another suburb of Chicago, your criminal record may not have to haunt you for the rest of your life. Your record could be eligible for expungement or sealing, and both of those processes could give you the fresh start you deserve.

Expungement completely erases your criminal record, and sealing hides some or all of it from public view. In both cases, the vast majority of people – including landlords, most employers and creditors – will never even know you had a run-in with the law. This guide explains expungement in Orland Park, as well as how you can take charge of your future by clearing your past criminal record.

Qualifying for Expungement in Orland Park, IL - Expungement Criteria Under Illinois Law

Expungement in Orland Park, IL

You already know that having a criminal record makes it hard to find a good job, a decent place to live, or even get credit – but it may not have to be that way. Illinois law allows some criminal records to be expunged; that means they’re permanently erased so it’s like nothing ever happened. And records that don’t qualify for expungement may instead qualify for sealing, which hides them from most people.

Generally speaking, you can completely erase the following types of criminal records:

  • Arrests that never resulted in a conviction, whether they were for misdemeanor or felony offenses
  • Arrests that resulted in dropped charges (or a release without being charged)
  • Offenses for which a judge sentenced you to supervision
  • Offenses for which a judge sentenced you to qualified probation, in some cases
  • Convictions that the governor pardoned
  • Convictions that have been vacated or reversed
  • Some nonviolent Class 3 and Class 4 felonies under certain circumstances

Again, though these are generally the only offenses that qualify for expungement, you need to know that other offenses may qualify for sealing. (In fact, most convictions do qualify for sealing – so if you have convictions you want sealed, scroll down to the later section, “Criminal Record Sealing in Orland Park” to learn how we can help you.)

When Can You Expunge Your Record in Orland Park?

Some cases require you to wait a certain period of time before you can ask the court to clear your record. The following table explains how long you must wait.

Situation Waiting Period
Arrests for which you were released without charges No waiting period. You can petition for expungement immediately.
Arrests for which your charges were dropped No waiting period. You can petition for expungement immediately.
Cases that were dismissed No waiting period. You can petition for expungement immediately.
Cases in which you were found not guilty No waiting period. You can petition for expungement immediately.
Cases in which a judge sentenced you to supervision 2 years. You must wait at least 2 years after completing your sentence of supervision before you can ask the court to expunge your record.
Cases in which a judge sentenced you to qualified or special probation 5 years. You must wait at least 5 years after completing your sentence of qualified probation or special probation before you can ask the court to expunge your record.

Every case is different, and if you’re not sure whether you qualify for expungement (or if you’ve met the waiting time requirements), call us at 847-920-4540 to find out during a free consultation.

Expunging a Criminal Record in Orland Park

Although Illinois law makes it possible to expunge a record in Orland Park (and elsewhere in the state), that doesn’t mean it’s a simple, straightforward process for everyone. Many people find the forms and requirements complicated, so they choose to work with an Orland Park expungement attorney. Your attorney will put together your entire expungement petition and file it with the court for you, and if you’re entitled to a hearing, your lawyer can represent you.

Most expungement cases follow the same process, outlined here.

Step 1 in the Expungement Process: Free Consultation With an Attorney You talk to an attorney over the phone, in person or through a video conference to explain what’s on your criminal record. Your attorney will let you know whether you can expunge or seal your record under Illinois law.
Step 2 in the Expungement Process: Background Check Your lawyer will conduct a complete background check for you (unless you already have a copy of your entire criminal record). Your attorney needs the information from your criminal record to file a petition with the court.
Step 3 in the Expungement Process: Eligibility Determination Your attorney uses the information from your criminal record to determine which cases qualify for expungement and which qualify for sealing. Some cases may have to remain on your criminal record (see the later section “Things You Can Never Clear From Your Criminal Record in Orland Park” for more information).
Step 4 in the Expungement Process: Supporting Documentation You provide your lawyer with documentation that supports your case. Anything that could show a judge that you deserve a fresh start would be helpful. You may want to provide things like a high school equivalency certificate, a college diploma or transcript that shows you’ve been attending classes, proof of community service or character letters from respected people in your community. In some cases, documentation of successful completion of a treatment program – or a negative drug test – is also required.
Step 5 in the Expungement Process: The Petition Your lawyer puts together a packet of documents to send to the court. The packet includes your formal petition, as well as the supporting documentation you provided, to show the judge in your case why you deserve a fresh start.
Step 6 in the Expungement Process: Filing Your attorney files your complete packet with the right court for you. You pay the filing fee.
Step 7 in the Expungement Process: Petition Review All interested parties, such as the state’s attorney, the Illinois State Police and the agency that arrested you, get a chance to review your petition and make recommendations. For example, the state’s attorney may recommend that the judge grant or deny your petition. If any interested party objects, you could be entitled to a hearing; if that happens, your lawyer can represent you and explain your situation.
Step 8 in the Expungement Process: Judicial Review After interested parties have had a chance to make a recommendation, the judge reviews your complete packet. The judge looks at everything – your petition, your supporting documentation and recommendations from others – before making a decision.
Step 9 in the Expungement Process: Judicial Decision The judge makes a decision after reviewing everything your attorney submitted for you. If the judge approves your petition, the court will send out a formal order to destroy your records or return them to you. The order goes to the County Clerk, the Illinois State Police, the agency that arrested you, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Those agencies must comply with the court’s order, even if they objected to your expungement.

Can Anyone Still See Expunged Records?

When your record is expunged, it no longer exists. The agencies that had records on you are court-ordered to destroy them or return them to you, so nobody will ever see – or even know, unless you tell them – that you had a criminal record.

Ready to learn more? Download your free Illinois expungement e-book.

Criminal Record Sealing in Orland Park, Illinois - Orland Park Expungement and Sealing Attorney Matthew M. Fakhoury

 

Criminal Record Sealing in Orland Park

When criminal records don’t qualify for expungement, they may still qualify for sealing. Sealing is a lot like expungement, but the key difference is that your records still exist. However, they won’t come up on standard background checks; that means landlords, most employers and other people won’t see them. Sealing means they’re hidden from the general public’s view, and only a few people are permitted to see them (or know that they exist). The people who can see your sealed records include:

  • Judges
  • Prosecutors working in an official capacity, like prosecuting you for another crime
  • State’s attorneys
  • Police agencies
  • People working in an official capacity within the court system
  • The Illinois State Police
  • The Illinois Department of Corrections
  • Employers that require fingerprint-based background checks

A Word on Fingerprint-Based Background Checks

Some employers use fingerprint-based background checks in the hiring process, such as the military, law enforcement agencies, childcare facilities and some healthcare facilities. These people will see that you have a criminal record if your record is sealed. However, most employers run standard background checks (if they run any at all), and so do most landlords. That means most people will never learn about your criminal record from the state police, the FBI or other agencies that may have copies of your records.

Things You Can Never Clear From Your Criminal Record in Orland Park

Some offenses must stay on your criminal record forever under Illinois law. However, every case is different, so you should talk to an attorney if you’re interested in clearing your record. You typically cannot expunge or seal cases related to violence or:

  • Class A misdemeanors under the Humane Care for Animals Act
  • Dog Fighting
  • Domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery
  • Driving under the influence
  • Felony public indecency
  • Misdemeanors listed under Article 11 of the Criminal Code
  • Reckless driving
  • Sex offenses that require you to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act
  • Soliciting or patronizing a prostitute
  • Violation of an order of protection, a civil no-contact order or a stalking no-contact order

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Sealing or Expunging Your Criminal Record in Orland Park?

If you’re considering criminal record clearing, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 right now. If it’s easier, fill out the form below. Our consultation is always free, and we can give you the guidance you need to start moving forward – away from the criminal record that’s been preventing you from getting a good job or finding a decent place to live. We may be able to help you get the fresh start you deserve.

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