Living with a criminal history can pose many hardships, even though you may have fulfilled your penalties. In many states, including Illinois, the government offers options for those who wish to clear their criminal records.
Unfortunately, not all individuals or situations are eligible for expungement or records sealing. Keep reading to learn how clearing a criminal background works in Illinois.
What is expungement?
Expungement is the process of erasing criminal records from public view. In other words, the charges and arrest will no longer appear on most background checks. Expungement is only available for certain crimes, and there are strict eligibility requirements.
For example, you must comply with court orders, such as undergoing and completing probation. Expungement may also be an option when a court reverses your conviction or the governor pardons the offense.
What is record sealing?
In contrast, record sealing limits who can access your criminal history. Your arrest, charges and conviction still exist, but the general public can no longer view these records.
Typically, record sealing is available for more offenses than expungement is. Unfortunately, sealing your records may not prevent prospective employers and law enforcement from seeing your criminal background.
What should you do now?
You need to learn more about eligible offenses and possible obstacles to determine whether you can clear your record. Having legal guidance can help you make this determination, prepare your petition and present a strong case.
Expunging or sealing your criminal past can lead to a less complicated and more rewarding future without your record following you. It’s worth finding out more about your options.