Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Expungement or Sealing Easier

Clearing your criminal record in Illinois through expungement or sealing can be a complex process. Hiring a lawyer can simplify the process significantly — they’ll handle the legal legwork and represent you in court if necessary.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Expungement or Sealing Easier

Dealing with a criminal record can be challenging, but expungement or sealing in Illinois offers a path to a fresh start. This guide explains the following:

  • The difference between expungement and sealing
  • The role of a lawyer in expungement or sealing
  • The process of expungement or sealing
  • Eligibility for expungement or sealing
  • The benefits of expungement or sealing

Here’s a closer look at each.

The Difference Between Expungement and Sealing

Expungement and sealing are two different legal remedies in Illinois. Expungement means your record is either destroyed or returned to you, effectively erasing the offense. Sealing, on the other hand, hides your record from most public searches, although it can still be accessed through a fingerprint-based background check. Expungement is usually available for arrests, dropped charges, not guilty findings, and vacated convictions, with some exceptions for veterans.

The Role of a Lawyer in Expungement or Sealing

A lawyer simplifies the expungement or sealing process by handling all the necessary legal work. They complete and file the petition on your behalf and represent you in court if a hearing is required. Their knowledge of the legal system and experience with similar cases ensure that your petition is handled correctly and efficiently, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

The Process of Expungement or Sealing

The process involves filing a petition with the court, which can be complex and time-consuming. A lawyer will gather all necessary documents, complete the petition accurately, and submit it to the appropriate court. If the state objects to your petition, or if a hearing is required, your lawyer will represent you, arguing on your behalf and addressing any concerns the court may have.

Eligibility for Expungement or Sealing

Eligibility for expungement or sealing depends on several factors, including the nature of your offense, your criminal history, and the outcome of your case. While many convictions can be sealed, usually violent offenses, DUIs, and some reckless driving charges cannot be. A lawyer can assess your specific situation to determine your eligibility and advise you on the best course of action.

The Benefits of Expungement or Sealing

Expungement or sealing your record offers numerous benefits. It can improve your chances of finding employment, securing housing, and accessing educational opportunities. It also provides peace of mind and a sense of closure, allowing you to move forward without the burden of a past mistake.

FAQ About Expungement or Sealing in Illinois

Check out these commonly asked questions about expungement or sealing in Illinois.

What’s the First Step in the Expungement or Sealing Process?

For many people, the first step is to consult with a lawyer who can evaluate your case and determine your eligibility for expungement or sealing.

How Long Does the Expungement or Sealing Process Take?

The process can vary in length, but typically it takes several months. A lawyer can help expedite the process by ensuring all paperwork is completed accurately and filed promptly.

Can All Criminal Records Be Expunged or Sealed?

Not all records can be expunged or sealed. The eligibility depends on the nature of the offense and your criminal history.

What’s the Difference Between a Lawyer and Doing It Myself?

A lawyer brings experience, ensuring that the process is handled correctly and efficiently. They also represent you in court, which can be crucial for a successful outcome.

Are There Special Considerations for Veterans Seeking Expungement?

Yes, veterans may have additional options for expungement, especially if their offense is related to service-related mental health issues or substance abuse. A lawyer can provide more information on these options.

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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