Expunge Your Criminal Record

 If you have ever been arrested in Illinois, you have a criminal record… Even if the charges were dropped or you were found ‘not guilty’ in court!

And worse yet, your criminal record is publicly accessible to any person unless your record is ‘expunged’ or ‘sealed’ by an order of the Court. 

Many people have been falsely arrested.  But they survive the ordeal by having their case dismissed or being found not guilty at trial, only to discover at some later date that they still have a ‘criminal record’.  In fact, some discover that since they paid a fine after being arrested, that shows up as a ‘conviction’ on their criminal record.

The experienced criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Winer & Winer work with clients to petition the Court to order their criminal records expunged or sealed

Our goal is to give you a fresh start.

Your arrest record, even if the charges were dismissed, can continue to affect you in so many ways:

  • Background checks with prospective employers
  • An ex-spouse looking for ammunition in a custody battle
  • Applications to professional school
  • Entry into the armed forces
  • And so on…

However, under Illinois state law, you may be eligible to petition the court to expunge your record and put that nightmare behind you.  For example, under current Illinois law, you can have a court expunge criminal records if any of the following circumstances apply to you:

Your record can be expunged of municipal ordinance, misdemeanor and felony charges IF:

  • You were found NOT GUILTY of the charges, OR
  • The State dismissed the charges against you.

Remember, even if the charges were dismissed or you were found ‘not guilty’, you still have a criminal record that you should have expunged. 

You also may be successful in getting your criminal record expunged if:

  • You were sentenced to supervision for certain misdemeanors, AND 
  • At least five years has passed since supervision was discharged, AND
  • You have not been arrested or criminally charged since the supervision was dischargedANot

Another scenario in which you may be able to have your criminal record expunged, is:

  • If you were sentenced to probation for certain misdemeanors, AND
  • It has been five years since successful termination of probation, AND
  • You have not been arrested or criminally charged since probation was discharged, and there are no charges pending against you.

You may be successful in petitioning to have your criminal record expunged:

  • If you were convicted or found guilty AND EITHER
  • You received a pardon from the governor that specifically authorizes an expungement, OR
  • Your conviction was set aside on direct review or collateral attack, and the court “determines by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant was factually innocent.”

Finally, if you were released without conviction following a sentence of supervision for certain offenses AND it has been two years since successful discharge and dismissal from supervision, you may be successful in petitioning the court to expunge your record.

What About Felony Convictions?  Can I Have Those Records ‘Sealed’ or ‘Expunged’?

The following special felony probations are not considered convictions and therefor may be eligible for expungement or sealing:

  • TASC probation

Also, the following First Offender drug probations may be eligible, depending on the facts of your case:

  • Section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act
  • Section 410 of the Controlled Substances Act
  • Section 70 of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act

The only felony convictions which may qualify for sealing are:

  • Class 4 Drug Possession under Section 4 of the Cannabis Control Act or Section 402 of the Controlled Substances Act
  • Class 4 convictions under the Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act and the Steroid Control Act
  • Class 4 Prostitution convictions under 720 ILCS 5/11-14.

The Process to Expunge or Seal Your Records

In general, the process to expunge or seal your criminal record is as follows:

  • Obtain your entire criminal background.
  • Determine your eligibility.
  • Prepare and file the proper petitions with the court.  Note that each county and courthouse has its own petitions, filing procedures and fees.
  • Attend court hearing.    Note that even if you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is not automatic.  The Judge has discretion and is not required to order the record expunged or sealed.  For example, if you have been arrested multiple times, the judge may decide that you have a pattern of criminal activity and deny your petition.
  • Answer the State’s Objection.  The State’s Attorney may object to your petition to expunge or seal your criminal record. 
  • Entry of the Order and Agency Compliance.  Once the Judge has ruled in your favor, an order to expunge or seal your records actually directs agencies to clear your record.  Your record is not cleared the same day the order is entered.  Instead, the order must be sent to the Illinois State Police and the arresting agency. 

When done properly, it takes a minimum of 3-6 months to successfully expunge or seal your criminal records.  Some records, depending on their complexity, can take longer.

Call the Law Offices of Winer and Winer today for your FREE initial consultation. 

Law Offices of Winer & Winer
9 N County St, Ste 100
Waukegan, IL 60089
(847) 336-9111

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