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Illinois Expungement Laws

Aside from an occasional parking ticket, a majority of Illinois residents can go through their entire lives without getting into trouble with the law. However, in those cases when an arrest occurs and a trial ensues, you will find yourself with a permanent criminal record. This is a record that will follow you anywhere you go even if you leave the state of Illinois.

Having a criminal record can impact on future employment and bank loans. The only option you have to clear up your criminal past is to get your record expunged. Not everyone who is arrested in Illinois would qualify for expungement. If you do meet the eligibility requirements it is in your best interest to clean up your past.

In order to obtain an Illinois expungement you must first petition the court. It will be up to the court to decide if you will be granted an expungement or have your records sealed. The judges in these matters are basically considering whether the right of the public to access your records exceeds your right to protect your privacy. The Illinois courts make these determinations based on the nature of the crime itself. When a record is sealed it means that only a court order can have it opened. On the other hand, when a record is expunged then it effectively disappears from all public records. That includes any documents, fingerprints, arrest reports or mug shots. Additionally, all electronic records are erased.

There are certain conditions that have to be met in order for the Illinois courts to grant an expungement. If a person has been found not guilty, there was no finding of probably cause or the case was dismissed then an expungement can easily be granted. The other pathway to expungement is if the governor grants you a pardon. Beyond that, if a defendant is convicted of a non-violent crime and has completed any court order supervision for two years they can file for an expungement.

Illinois law states that a person who has been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor, or someone who has a DUI supervision requirement or is given a conditional discharge will not be eligible for expungement.

The best course of action in seeking an expungement is to work with an attorney who has experience in these matters. This is especially true with any juvenile arrest records. It's important for college applications and future employment possibilities that these incidents get settled before they become an issue.

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