Although a surprising percentage of people have one or two offenses on their criminal record, having an arrest or criminal charge on your record can still damage your future. Employers and landlords who perform background checks may see an arrest record and refuse to proceed with the candidate. Even if someone is arrested but not convicted of the offense, the simple act of being arrested can cause substantial harm.
Many people falsely believe that they only have a criminal record if they have been convicted of a crime or spent time in jail. Unfortunately, this is not the case. An arrest shows up on a criminal record or criminal history and stays on your record until you take specific legal action to have it removed through expungement or sealing.
In Illinois, there are two ways to clear your record of an arrest: by sealing your records or by expunging your records. Record sealing means that your criminal record is no longer accessible to the public. This includes employers, landlords, and schools. However, your record is still accessible to law enforcement and the courts. Expunging your record means that your criminal record is destroyed and is no longer accessible to anyone.
You may qualify for an expungement in Illinois if:
Your charges were dropped or dismissed
You were arrested but not charged
You were found "not guilty" of the offense
You committed a qualifying misdemeanor and at least two years have passed since you successfully completion of court supervision
You committed a qualifying felony and at least five years have passed since you successfully competed court supervision
Certain convictions are not eligible for expungement, including convictions for domestic violence, DUI, or certain sex crimes. If you do not qualify for an expungement, you may still be eligible to have your records sealed. When a record is sealed, most employers cannot see the arrest or conviction on a background check.
If you are interested in clearing your criminal record, you should speak with an experienced attorney who can help you determine whether you qualify for an expungement or record sealing and guide you through the process.
If you were arrested, charged, or convicted of a criminal offense, you may be able to clear your criminal record. Call J. Aldrich Law, P.C. at 630-953-3000 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Naperville criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys have experience handling all types of criminal cases, including DUI, traffic offenses, drug crimes, theft, assault, and more. We will help you understand your legal options and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.