Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Expunging Your Illinois Criminal Record

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There are several myths and misconceptions regarding the expungement of criminal records in Illinois and it is best to consult with an experienced criminal law attorney to assist you in these types of situations.  The most common myth is that if a person is a juvenile or an adult for whom the charges were dismissed or who receives court supervision then the records are automatically expunged.  Juvenile records are sealed from the public but are still accessible to law enforcement personnel.  Adult records are accessible to the public whether a person was convicted, received court supervision or the charges were dropped.  Once a person is arrested a criminal record is created.  This record includes fingerprints, arrest photographs and entry into the national, state and local databases.  A second myth is that if a person is charged but the charges were dropped or the person was found not guilty that charge may be expunged provided that person takes the necessary steps to expunge the record.   

For persons who have been charged but the charges were dropped or the person was found not guilty the record may be expunged immediately after such disposition provided the person has never been convicted of any other criminal offense or municipal ordinance violation.  A person who has been so convicted may still be allowed to seal an arrest record but may not have any individual case expunged.  A sealed record is comparable to a juvenile record in that it may not be accessible to the public but it will be accessible to law enforcement personnel.    

Persons who were granted court supervision may have their records expunged either two or five years (depending on the charge) after successful completion of the terms of court supervision.  However, a disposition of court supervision for driving under the influence, reckless driving or sexual offenses against a minor under the age of 18 may not be expunged.  Further expungements do not apply to minor traffic offenses, orders of protections or other cases that are civil in nature.  

It is also a myth that all non-violent felonies may be expunged.  Most felony convictions are not eligible for expungement or sealing.  For most felony convictions a person must receive a pardon from the governor.  Certain drug charges that result in a disposition of “710”, “410”, section 70 or TASC probation may qualify for expungement five years after successful completion of the probation.  Certain (very few) other felony convictions may be sealed but not expunged provided certain criteria are met. 
Once a record is expunged it is a civil rights violation for an employer to ask about that record or discriminate against someone in any way simply because of the fact of the record.  However, an employer may use independent information to find out if an employee or potential employee has engaged in the criminal conduct for which he or she was arrested.  Sealed records may be considered for or during employment under certain criteria or for certain employers that require criminal background checks.  For additional information please visit

While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with the most accurate information and honest analysis, the information on this site is for general information purposes only.