Expungement, Clemency and Sealing in Illinois

Expungement of Criminal Charges in Illinois

Expungement in IllinoisHave you lost out on a great opportunity because of your criminal past? A criminal record and especially a conviction on your record can cause an extreme amount of stress in your life. There may be relief in knowing that if you live in Illinois, you may qualify to expunge your criminal record. An expungement would be an erasing of a criminal record. Your past convictions will no longer show up on your record. If you need to determine if you’re eligible, call us we can help in the legal process. Daniel Hinich can give you an honest assessment with a free consultation.

The expungement procedure in Illinois needs to submit an official application to the court requesting that the arrest or conviction be removed. Depending on the offense, a waiting period may be necessary. A formal hearing is performed where the court might authorize your demand and remove the arrest and/or conviction from your record. Once the arrest or conviction is expunged, a person does not have to disclose the arrest or sentence because it is no longer an issue of public record. A finding of “NOT GUILTY” or complying with a court trial will not clear a criminal arrest from your public record.
The most important reasons to have your record expunged are:

  • Preserving Your Reputation
  • Protecting Employment Opportunities

Most people convicted of misdemeanors and felonies in Chicago and the bordering Chicagoland metro area understand that a criminal record could cost them their current job, as well as future employment possibilities.

Specific Class 4 felonies and certain misdemeanors are exempt from expungement. When you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, the arrest records stays in the public record. The record is still available, and therefore it is possible that companies, employers, government agencies and others can still find the arrest record by performing a public records search. The only method to make certain that a future employer or others performing criminal background checks will not find out about your arrest or conviction is to have the records removed by expungement.

Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois

Sealing would be taking your record and not erasing it, but hiding it or sealing it away from the public and only at certain times can officials could view it such as law enforcement personnel or during trials. The general public would not have access to it

When somebody is jailed for a violation or felony, the individual detained may have to be proactive to avoid the unfavorable consequences of a public document of arrest and conviction. The public record of an apprehension will still exist to the public eye which is why you may want to seal the criminal record. Mr Hinich suggests sealing in the following circumstances:

  • The prosecutor chooses not to bring official charges
  • Charge is not pursued after being submitted
  • Pardon on all fees and fines
  • Successful completion of guidance following a sentence
  • Mistrial because of jury

If the document is sealed, it could only be assessed by police and other court officials.

Clemency in Illinois

Clemency is the forgiving or absolving of a criminal charge. If you are convicted of a crime and it is expunged or sealed, you may petition for clemency. At this point, the law gets very technical as to whether you will be given a certificate of innocence or not. Essentially, the Governor of the State of Illinois will have to sign off on granting clemency. Clemency forgives you of the criminal conviction.