If you’re like many people, you know that even a simple arrest creates a criminal record with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI. That’s because when you’re arrested, the arresting agency uploads your fingerprints into a massive database to check whether you’re wanted for any other crimes.
After the FBI receives your fingerprints and the charges listed against you, it creates a file with your name and fingerprints attached. In the future, when someone conducts a fingerprint-based background check on you, this record will pop up.
If your criminal record is expunged or sealed in Chicago, your FBI record may not go away. Unfortunately, even if the police release you without formally charging you with a crime or you’re later found not guilty, this FBI record continues to exist.
However, it is possible to expunge an FBI record. This guide explains.
Your Complete Guide to FBI Expungement
For many people, the simplest way to expunge an FBI criminal record is to work with an attorney. Your attorney will be able to explain the entire process to you from start to finish, as well as answer your questions along the way.
What’s on Your FBI Record?
Your FBI record most likely contains the name of the law enforcement agency that arrested you and submitted your fingerprints to the FBI. Additionally, it may include the date of your arrest, the charges the state filed against you, the court name, and possibly even the final disposition (outcome) of your case. However, sometimes the final disposition is not in your FBI criminal record. This happens if the court with jurisdiction over your case never reported its outcome, even if you were released without formal charges or acquitted, that information may not be included.
Where Does the FBI Get Information for Its Records?
The FBI gets information from the police agencies and other law enforcement agencies that report to it. It’s entirely possible to have an incomplete FBI criminal record.
Related: Can you work for the federal or state government if you have a criminal record?
Is it Possible to Get Your Records Expunged From the FBI Database?
It is possible to get your criminal records expunged from the FBI database. However, many people choose to work with an attorney to do so, because the process can be confusing and time-consuming. Here’s a quick breakdown of what your attorney can do.
Step 1 in FBI Expungement: Gathering Documentation
After you’ve had a criminal record expunged in the state of Illinois, your attorney will gather all the appropriate paperwork, including court orders and compliance letters, to begin the FBI expungement process.
Step 2 in FBI Expungement: Filling Out the Appropriate Forms
The FBI has a specific form it requires attorneys and others to fill out to request expungement. Your attorney can prepare this form for you, as well as attach all relevant documentation to it. The application must be complete before submitting it for review; otherwise, the FBI may reject it and require you to start over.
Related: Who can see expunged records?
Step 3 in FBI Expungement: Submitting the Form to the Illinois State Police
Rather than submitting your forms directly to the FBI, your attorney will be required to turn them in to the Illinois State Police, or ISP. The ISP Has a dedicated point of contact for all FBI expungement requests, and your attorney will know who that person is.
Step 4 in FBI Expungement: ISP Transfer to FBI
The Illinois State Police will process the request and submit the paperwork to the FBI. If the FBI chooses to comply with the request, your attorney will receive an email from the ISP.
It’s important to note that the FBI does not have to comply with a request – and there’s no guarantee that it will actually expunge your record, even if you fill out all the right paperwork (and ask really nicely). It’s up to the FBI to click “Delete” on your record, and it’s under no legal obligation to do so.
Step 5 in FBI Expungement: Double-Checking
After your attorney receives an email confirmation from the ISP, it’s a good idea to get fingerprinted by the FBI to confirm that all of your cases have been removed from your FBI record. if some of your cases remain on your record, you may try the expungement process again.
Why Should You Expunge Your FBI Record?
The main reason that many people choose to expunge their FBI records is that the information they contain pops up anytime someone does a fingerprint-based background check. If you’ve gone to the trouble of having your Illinois criminal record expunged, it also makes sense to ask the FBI to clear your name.
Related: Do arrests show up on a background check?
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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