In general, an acquittal means that the court found you not guilty of the crime you were charged with. This means that the prosecution was unable to prove its case for the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If you were acquitted of a crime, you probably assume that you do not have a criminal record. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is a record of every arrest that occurs in Illinois. When someone has a criminal record, it is usually available for public viewing, even if the charge was later dropped or the person was acquitted of the crime. A criminal record can negatively impact many aspects of life, such as employment opportunities and housing access.
If you have an arrest or criminal charge on your record, you may be able to clear your record through expungement.
Expungement is a process that completely erases a criminal record from the state’s records, effectively making it as if the arrest or charge never happened. In Illinois, there are a few requirements for someone to be eligible for an expungement. To get your record expunged, at least one of the following must be true:
The charges against you were dropped
The case was dismissed
You were acquitted or found "not guilty"
Individuals may also qualify for expungement if they received court supervision or probation for an eligible offense, and it has been two years since the completion of their probation or court supervision.
If you meet the requirements for expungement in Illinois, you will need to file a Petition of Expungement with the circuit court in the county in which the arrest occurred. There is also a small fee associated with expungement. Once you file the petition and pay the fee, the court will review your case and decide if your record should be expunged. If there are no objections to the expungement petition, the judge will grant it and order the records to be expunged.
Getting your record cleared through an expungement can have a significant impact on your life. If you were acquitted of a crime and are looking to clear your record, speaking with an experienced attorney may be the best way to learn more about your options. An attorney can help you determine if expungement is a viable option and walk you through the expungement process.
Our skilled DuPage County criminal defense lawyers provide legal assistance to individuals accused of criminal offenses in Naperville and the surrounding areas. Call our office at 630-953-3000 for a free case assessment to learn more.