When you’re looking to clear your criminal record, the process of expungement can be a beacon of hope. It’s a legal pathway to removing arrests, charges, and convictions from your public record, as if they never happened. But embarking on this journey alone can be overwhelming. That’s where an attorney steps in. Hiring a lawyer who specializes in expungement can offer numerous benefits that can make all the difference in Read More
A criminal record can have significant long-term consequences, from impacting job opportunities to hindering housing options. However, in Illinois, certain criminal records can be sealed, giving individuals a second chance. Sealing your criminal record in Illinois can be a complicated process, but this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to navigate it successfully.
The Ultimate Guide to Sealing Your Criminal Record in Illinois
This guide explains the following:
- What it means to seal your criminal record
- Eligibility for record sealing
- The difference between sealing and expunging a criminal record
- How to petition to seal your criminal record
- What to expect during the sealing process
- The benefits of sealing your criminal record
Here’s a closer look at each.
What It Means to Seal Your Criminal Record
Sealing your criminal record means that the record is no longer publicly available. This means that potential employers, landlords, and others will not be able to see your criminal record. In effect, it’s as if the record does not exist.
Eligibility for Record Sealing
Not all criminal records are eligible for sealing in Illinois. Generally, you may be eligible for record sealing if:
- You were not convicted of a crime
- You were convicted of certain misdemeanors or felonies
- Your case was dismissed, or you were acquitted of the charges against you
Sometimes the eligibility for sealing and expungement overlap. For example, you may be eligible for sealing and expungement if you were arrested but never convicted – and in a case like this, you’ll need to decide whether you want to expunge or seal your record. Your attorney can give you the guidance you need.
The Difference Between Sealing and Expunging a Criminal Record
Expunging a criminal record means that it is erased entirely. In contrast, sealing a criminal record means that it is hidden from public view, but it still exists. Only certain criminal records are eligible for expungement. If your record is not eligible for expungement, sealing may be the next best option.
How to Petition to Seal Your Criminal Record
To petition to seal your criminal record, you will need to complete and file the necessary paperwork with the court. This includes a petition to seal your record, along with supporting documentation. It is recommended that you work with an attorney to ensure that you complete the necessary paperwork accurately and in full.
What to Expect During the Sealing Process
After you file your petition to seal your criminal record, you may be entitled to a hearing, which may help the judge determine whether to grant your petition. An attorney can help prepare you for the hearing and represent you in court.
The Benefits of Sealing Your Criminal Record
Sealing your criminal record can have significant benefits. It can improve your job prospects, increase your access to housing options, and improve your overall quality of life. Sealing your criminal record can also help you move forward from past mistakes and create a brighter future.
Sealing your criminal record in Illinois can be a complicated process, but with the help of an experienced attorney, it’s possible. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can take the necessary steps to seal your criminal record and start fresh.
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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