Any criminal act is taken seriously in the state of Illinois. Charges can impact an alleged offender’s personal and professional life, even if they are eventually dropped or dismissed altogether. In some cases, being arrested can go on a person’s criminal record, even if he or she is not convicted of the crime. This can occur if someone finds him or herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is falsely accused.
You may have heard the term “expungement” before, but what does it really mean in regard to someone’s criminal record? The state of Illinois offers eligible persons the chance to clear their criminal records and to receive the fresh start they deserve.
Expunged Versus Sealed
The words “expunged” and “sealed” sometimes go hand in hand. However, it is important to differentiate between the two actions. When a criminal record is sealed, it still exists in both a legal and physical sense. Therefore, it could be viewed by certain parties, such as law enforcement officials. However, expungement means any arrest or criminal charge is erased completely from someone’s record, as if it never happened. In a sense, expungement can give a person a second chance after they were wrongfully accused or made a mistake.
Crimes That Can Be Expunged
In some situations, a person can be arrested for an offense, but it may not result in a conviction. Records of these arrests can usually be expunged. In cases when a person was convicted of a crime, expungement is usually not available, but certain types of convictions may be eligible for sealing.
Below are some examples of offenses or scenarios that may be eligible for expungement:
- Misdemeanor and felony arrests that did not result in convictions
- Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies if they were reversed, vacated, or pardoned
- Certain felony convictions for honorably discharged veterans
- Sentences for supervision, after a certain waiting period
- Sentences of probation, after five years
It is important to know that for convictions that were reversed, an individual must also have a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement from the Prisoner Review Board. If a request for expungement is approved, the arresting agency, the Illinois State Police, and the FBI will remove the arrest record from their official database. This means the public cannot see it, and a criminal record will not appear on a background check.
Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal charge of any kind should be taken seriously. If you are convicted, the penalties can range from fines to loss of driving privileges to prison time. That is why it is important to know your options when facing such charges in Illinois. Depending on the circumstances, there are certain crimes that can be expunged from a person’s record. The skilled Wheaton expungement lawyers at Anderson Attorneys & Advisors understand the importance of clearing your name. We will help you determine your eligibility for sealing or expunging your record and work with you to file a petition for expungement or sealing. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 630-877-5800.