How to Get a Clean Criminal Record

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If you’re like most people with a few blemishes on your criminal record, you know that you made mistakes in the past – but you shouldn’t have to live with them for the rest of your life.

The good news is that you may qualify for criminal record expungement

How to Get a Clean Criminal Record

Not everyone is eligible for expungement. (Check out “Am I Eligible for Expungement?” to find out whether you might qualify.) If you don’t qualify for expungement, you might still qualify for criminal record sealing.

A Clean Record Through Expungement

Expungement is a process – and it’s one that many people choose to work with a Chicago expungement lawyer to handle. It requires you to go through several steps, including:

  • Get your criminal background report
  • Go through your record to determine whether you’re really eligible
  • File the right petitions with the right court
  • Wait to find out if the state’s attorney objects
  • Defend yourself at a hearing if the state’s attorney does object
  • Wait for the judge’s decision

Your Criminal Background Report

You can check your own criminal record, but it’s not always easy to do. For that reason, many people hire an attorney to perform a criminal background check

If you do choose to get your own criminal record, you’ll have to find a Statewide Criminal History Transcript from the Illinois State Police, your RAP sheet or court dispositions that pertain to your record.

Read Where to Get Copies of Your Criminal Records in Chicago to find out how to get these documents.

Are You Eligible?

The eligibility requirements to get a clean criminal record are pretty strict. You have to meet all the eligibility requirements to qualify, and for most people, that means consulting with a lawyer to be sure.

File the Petition

You must file your expungement petition with the right court. If you file it in the wrong court, it will never make it into the right judge’s hands. There are six municipal districts in Cook County, where Chicago is located – and other counties have their own districts. You have to file a separate petition in each district where you have a criminal record, and you must also pay separate filing fees for each petition.

What the State’s Attorney Says

The state’s attorney will have a chance to object to your expungement. If he or she does object, you could be entitled to a hearing. If you have an attorney, he can represent you and argue on your behalf.

Wait for a Judge’s Decision

You’ll have to wait for a judge to decide whether you’re entitled to an expungement. If the judge grants your petition (says yes to the expungement), the order that says so has to be sent to the Illinois State Police and the agency that arrested you.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About How to Get a Clean Criminal Record?

If you have a criminal record that you want to leave where it belongs – in the past – we may be able to help you. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 for a free case review. We’ll answer all your questions and work hard to get you the fresh start you deserve.