How Soon Should You Clear Your Criminal Record Before You Look for a Job?

It’s no secret that many employers running criminal background checks on the people they’re considering hiring. In fact, it’s generally considered good business to find out as much as you can about a person before you make a hiring decision. But for some prospective employees, that’s bad news. If you have a criminal record, you may not want employers digging into your past; you’re trying to get a fresh start, and your past may hold you back. Fortunately, in the state of Illinois, you’re allowed to expunge or seal many criminal records – and that means employers will never find out that you’ve had brushes with the law in the past period. This guide explains criminal record clearing and how soon you should take action to prevent employers from finding out about your past.

How Soon Should You Clear Your Criminal Record Before You Look for a Job?

Criminal record clearing isn’t an overnight process. In fact, it may take several months before your record is officially cleared. That means you should begin working on the criminal record clearing process as soon as possible.

The first step in clearing your criminal record is to get in touch with a criminal record clearing attorney. Your attorney can evaluate your entire record and let you know which incidents qualify for sealing or expungement. Because some records don’t qualify for either, it’s important you find out exactly what employers may see on your record before you begin searching for a job.

Related: What information does your lawyer need to expunge or seal your criminal record?

Expungement is generally only available for arrests and charges that never resulted in a conviction. For example, if you were arrested but never charged, charged but the charges were later dropped, or tried and found not guilty of committing a crime, you should be able to expunge those records. However, for the vast majority of people, convictions mean expungement is off the table. (There are a handful of exceptions, though, such as honorably discharged veterans of the United States armed forces; in many cases, these vets are eligible to expunge some Class 3 and Class 4 felonies.)

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you may be eligible to seal your record. If you seal your record, some employers, such as those that use fingerprint-based background checks, may still be able to see it. However, most employers won’t even know it exists.

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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