What You Need to Know About Clearing Your Criminal Record in Chicago

Having a criminal record can hold you back. You might have difficulty finding a job, getting housing or even obtaining a loan. However, criminal record clearing may be the solution you’re looking for. Before you dive right in, here’s what you need to know.

What You Need to Know About Clearing Your Criminal Record in Chicago

First things first: Expungement and sealing are two different things. Criminal record expungement results in your record being destroyed or returned to you, while criminal record sealing simply closes off your record from the public’s view.

Related: The ultimate guide to sealing your criminal record in Chicago

Expungement and Sealing Eligibility

Most convictions are not eligible for expungement, but many are eligible for criminal record sealing. You should talk to an attorney about your options if you have a criminal history in Illinois, because some of the offenses on your record may be eligible for one or the other. Some might not be eligible for either.

How Expungement and Sealing Work

Criminal record expungement and criminal record sealing are very similar processes, but they have different outcomes. Both can be very complicated and time consuming, though. The process requires filing paperwork, paying fees and in some cases, attending court hearings. It’s very important that you carefully follow all instructions and meet all deadlines during the process. Many people choose to work with a criminal record clearing attorney to ensure that they get the best possible outcome in their cases.

Related: The benefits of expunging your criminal record in Chicago

What Are the Benefits of Expungement or Sealing?

There are plenty of benefits to expungement and ceiling. Expungement, on one hand, completely clears your criminal record. It’s like nothing ever happened. Your criminal record is destroyed or returned to you. However, you can’t usually expunge convictions. If you have convictions on your criminal record, you generally need to use sealing to clear your record. Sealing is a different story; your record still exists, but it’s not available to the general public. However, many employers and law enforcement agencies, as well as people working in an official capacity within the court system, will be able to see your criminal record.

Related: How to figure out if you’re eligible for expungement in Illinois

Should You Expunge or Seal Your Record?

If you find that your criminal record is getting in your way, whether it’s because your past is preventing you from getting a job, finding housing or obtaining a loan, or getting the education or licensing you need to move forward with your life, it may be a good idea to petition the court for criminal record expungement or sealing. You should talk to an attorney about your options so you understand which offenses on your record are eligible for expungement and which are eligible for sealing.

Related: Why you need a criminal record expungement attorney in Chicago

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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