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Can I have my criminal record expunged?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Criminal defense | 0 comments

Having a criminal record can make life difficult. It can stop you from getting a job, finding a place to live or traveling. But in some cases, you may be able to expunge or seal your criminal record in Illinois. Expungement erases the record while sealing it makes it unavailable to most people. 

Am I eligible to expunge my criminal record?

The Illinois Criminal Identification Act allows expungement if your case meets certain rules. The law says people who did not commit a crime or completed programs should move forward without a criminal record burden. Here are the main rules for eligibility: 

  • Police arrested you but did not charge you 
  • A court found you not guilty or dismissed charges against you 
  • A higher court overturned your conviction 

If you meet the rules, the expungement process typically involves getting your criminal history transcript from the right agencies. You will also attend a hearing where the court decides if it will grant expungement based on the evidence and laws. 

Expungement may not happen for felony convictions

Expungement can help people, but some crimes are not eligible under Illinois law. These exceptions exist to maintain safety and protect serious crime categories. Many felonies are not eligible for expungement based on the offense itself or the ultimate outcome of your case The law does not allow expungement for some misdemeanors such as domestic battery and protection order violations, and sex offenses requiring registration. 

Benefits of expungement

A successful expungement can open opportunities that are impossible with a criminal record. This includes better job chances and easier access to housing and loans, as landlords and lenders look at criminal histories. You can also get a fresh start without the stigma and limits of a criminal record. 

If you have an Illinois criminal record, consider expungement. It can provide great relief and new opportunities. However, the legal process is complex, so you may want to seek professional help to better understand your chances.