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Expungements & Sealing

Illinois Seal and Expungement Attorney

A Chicago criminal defense attorney understands the legal requirements and effective approaches for expunging criminal convictions from your record. An Expungement is when a conviction is permanently erased from your record giving the appearance that you are free from any previous criminal conviction. In other words, an Expungement is the legal equivalent of the conviction never having happened in the first place. Once an Expungement is granted, your records are destroyed from each law enforcement agency possessing any information regarding the expunged case.

The Purpose of an Expungement

Even if a charge has been dismissed or a person has been found not guilty at trial, the arrest will remain on their record until it is expunged. So, even if you are asked on a job application whether or not you have ever been convicted of a crime, the answer would be “no” but that employer will still be able to see the arrest on your criminal background. You could still be denied a job or credit applications based on this or, at the very least, have to explain the circumstances of the arrest.

A prior record can keep you from getting approval for financial assistance, deprive you of getting an apartment, and is cause for an employer to refrain from hiring you. All of this can be extremely discouraging, especially if you have turned your life around and are trying to make a fresh start.

Starting Fresh!

In many cases, a criminal charge can be wiped from your record. Expungement allows you to vacate a criminal offense, permanently, from your record. Many offenses can be erased at the same time if they occurred in the same district. For instance, if you have three cases in the City of Chicago, and each case was dismissed or you were found not guilty, they can all be expunged in the same petition, saving your time and money.

There are of course certain instances where an Expungement would not be allowed. Consulting with a Chicago criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg is one of the best ways to learn whether or not your prior criminal record is eligible for an Expungement. If, after evaluating your case, you and your criminal defense lawyer choose to proceed with the Expungement, you can trust that your lawyer possesses the legal knowledge and experience to effectively expunge the offense from your record. Once the Expungement has taken effect, you can answer “no” to any question asking about a prior criminal conviction with impunity. Legally, it is as though it never happened in the first place.

Luckily the Expungement statute has changed over the past few years. Previously, if you had ever been convicted of a criminal offense or a municipal ordinance violation, you could not expunge any records, regardless of the outcome of the individual case. Now, regardless of your prior criminal history, you are eligible to expunge any case that was dismissed, disposed of with a finding of not guilty at trial, or if you were released from the police station without being charged.

Sealing

If your charges are not eligible for an Expungement, your records may still be eligible for Sealing. Once sealed, your criminal record is kept confidential and can only be reviewed for limited law enforcement and sentencing purposes. In Illinois, sealed criminal history records are not released to employers. Even a disposition of supervision on a DUI matter can prevent you from expunging your records, but not from sealing them.

August 24, 2017, Illinois House Bill 2373 was enacted which expands the current Illinois Criminal Identification Act to allow for virtually ALL felonies to be eligible for sealing relief! Almost any felony conviction will now be eligible for sealing relief through the court system!  The three (3) year waiting period (as determined from the end of the last criminal sentence on a person’s record) remains in effect, though on convictions that require a person to register on the Murder and Violence Offense Against Youth Registry, that person cannot apply for sealing relief until he or she is no longer required to remain on the registry. But at that point, the three years will have passed.

The few exceptions to sealing are listed at 20 ILCS 2630/5.2 (a)(3)(A):

You have lived with the deleterious after-effects of your criminal conviction for long enough. It is time to consult with a Chicago criminal defense lawyer to arrange for an Expungement or Sealing so that the offense can be erased from your record forever. Imagine the incredible relief that you will feel when your Chicago criminal defense attorney is able to lift the onerous burden of a criminal conviction that has so plagued your life for years. With over 20 years of Chicago criminal defense experience, David L. Freidberg has the expertise and procedural knowledge to efficiently and effectively expunge your conviction, enabling you to move on with your life. Start fresh, you deserve it!

Contact David L. Freidberg for the help you need by calling 312-560-7100 or filling out the contact form.