What Does it Really Mean When Your Criminal Record is Sealed in Illinois?

Understanding what it means to have your criminal record sealed in Illinois is key to recognizing how it affects your future. Here’s a clear explanation to help you know what to expect.

What Does it Really Mean When Your Criminal Record is Sealed in Illinois?

When you seal your criminal record in Illinois, it doesn’t disappear, but it does become much less visible to the public. This guide covers:

  • The basic definition of sealing
  • Who can still see your sealed records
  • Effects on employment and housing
  • Long-term implications of a sealed record

Here’s a closer look at each.

The Basic Definition of Sealing

In Illinois, sealing your criminal record means that most of your record is hidden from public view. Regular people and most employers won’t see your sealed charges on a background check. However, your records aren’t destroyed—they still exist.

Related: Expunge your record in Illinois

Who Can Still See Your Sealed Records

Despite being sealed, certain authorities can still access your record. This includes law enforcement agencies and some employers, particularly in sensitive fields like education and public safety. It’s important to know that sealing doesn’t remove your record from the eyes of all entities.

Effects on Employment and Housing

Sealing your record can improve your chances when looking for a job or an apartment. Most landlords and employers will not be able to see any sealed offenses, which can make it easier for you to move on and rebuild your life.

Related: Can prospective employers find your expunged records?

Long-Term Implications of a Sealed Record

While sealing offers significant benefits, it’s not absolute. Your record is not erased and can still be considered under certain legal circumstances. Knowing these limits can help you navigate future decisions and opportunities more effectively.

FAQ About Sealing Records in Illinois

Here are some frequently asked questions about what it means to have your criminal record sealed in Illinois:

Who Can Still See My Sealed Records?

Certain authorities, such as law enforcement agencies and some employers, especially in sensitive positions, can still access your sealed records.

Does Sealing My Record Affect My Eligibility for Government Jobs?

Sealing can help, but some government jobs, particularly those requiring high-security clearance, might still access your sealed records during their background checks.

Related: Can employers find out about old sex crime charges on your record?

Will Sealing My Record Impact My Ability to Travel Abroad?

Sealing your record mainly affects how your background appears within the U.S. It doesn’t usually impact international travel, but some countries have specific entry requirements that might involve criminal history.

Can I Seal Any Type of Criminal Record?

No, not all offenses are eligible for sealing in Illinois. Most non-violent misdemeanors and some felonies can be sealed, but violent crimes and major traffic offenses like DUIs typically cannot.

What Should I Do If I’m Denied Housing or Employment Due to a Sealed Record?

If you believe a sealed record has improperly influenced a decision about housing or employment, it might be useful to seek legal advice to address the issue and ensure your rights are protected.


Related: Can you seal sex crimes in Illinois?

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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