If you’re like many people, you’re sick of your criminal record hanging over your head and holding you back from doing the things you want to – or need to – do. Fortunately, there might be something you can do about it: You might qualify for expungement or sealing. But how do you get court records expunged? Here’s what you need to know.How Do You Get Court Records Expunged
There are a lot of common myths about criminal record sealing floating around, and one of them is that you can’t get a felony conviction sealed. In Chicago, Skokie, Schaumberg, Rolling Meadows and the rest of Illinois, you can get some felonies sealed. While sealing is different from expungement, it can still be a huge benefit to you.
Sealing Class 4 Felonies in Chicago and its Suburbs
Illinois law says that you can get certain Class 4 felony convictions sealed. You’ll have to go through a somewhat lengthy process, just like every other process having to do with criminal records.
The convictions that might qualify to be sealed are:
- Retail theft
- Deceptive practice
- Possession of burglary tools
Not all felony charges that fall under these categories are eligible for sealing. You’ll have to check with your Chicago expungement lawyer to find out whether yours does; the laws are very specific.
Give your attorney your arrest record and any court files you’re able to get that pertain to your case. He will be able to evaluate your case and compare it to the laws to figure out whether you qualify.
If your case does qualify for sealing, you still have to meet certain criteria: you must wait four years after the termination of your most recent sentence, and you must not have had any contact with the criminal justice system during that time. That means that four years after you’ve completed your last sentence, you haven’t had any brushes with the law.
Violent, sex-related and gun-related offenses cannot be sealed.
Why Sealing is Important
If you’re eligible to have your record sealed, you should take advantage of the opportunity. When your criminal record is public, it can be seen by potential employers, landlords and others who may use it to judge you without giving you a fair shake.