If you’re like most people, you know that having a criminal record can hold you back – and a record is the last thing you want hanging over your head. Fortunately, many people who have criminal records are eligible for expungement or sealing. In fact, people all over the Northwest Side, which includes Portage Park, Irving Park, Dunning, Montclare, Belmont Cragin, and Hermosa, have gotten a fresh start through criminal record clearing.
Here’s what you need to know about criminal record clearing on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
Expunging or Sealing Your Record on the Northwest Side of Chicago
Not all records are eligible for criminal record clearing; some convictions stay on your criminal record forever. In some cases, though, you can expunge or seal your record.
With expungement, your record is destroyed or returned to you. It’s like it never even existed.
Related: How do I expunge my record?
If your criminal record is sealed, most people will never get to see it. Only court officials, police, and a handful of employers (like the military and others who conduct fingerprint-based background checks) will even know that you have a criminal record.
Related: Is it better to expunge or seal your record?
What Can You Expunge From Your Record?
Generally, you can expunge records of:
- Arrests for misdemeanors or felonies that didn’t result in a conviction
- Crimes that resulted in a supervision sentence, as long as the waiting period has passed
- Crimes that resulted in a sentence of certain types of probation, as long as the waiting period has passed
There is one exception. If you’re an honorably discharged veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces (any branch), you might be eligible to expunge certain nonviolent Class 3 and Class 4 felonies. You have to provide proof of your service with a DD-214 (you can get one through the eVetRecs portal) and a complete copy of your criminal record.
Related: Veterans and criminal record expungement in Illinois
What About Sealing?
Whether you live on the Northwest Side or anywhere else in Chicago (or even elsewhere in Illinois), the rules are the same. Many offenses that aren’t eligible for expungement are still eligible for sealing, including:
- Arrests and charges for misdemeanors or felonies that never led to a conviction
- Felony traffic offenses that the court has reduced to an eligible misdemeanor
- Convictions for most – but not all – misdemeanors and felonies
You can’t seal or expunge things like sex crimes or most violent crimes – but if you’re not sure about what can come off your record, give us a call at 847-920-4540. We’ll be happy to let you know if your record is eligible for clearing.
FREE E-BOOK: The Complete Guide to Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing
Need to Talk to a Northwest Side Lawyer About Your Record?
If you need to talk to an attorney about your criminal record – and to find out whether you’re eligible for sealing or expungement – give us a call at 847-920-4540. We’ll be happy to give you a free consultation right now.