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Can I get my criminal record cleared in Illinois? (Part 1)

In Illinois, you have the option of having your record cleared for certain crimes. The state permits you to either have your record “sealed” or “expunged.” Here’s the difference:

  • Sealed: When you have you record sealed, it can no longer be accessed through conventional means—making it unavailable to creditors and employers. While some government organizations may still be able to access it, it cannot be made available to the public without a court order.
  • Expunged: Expungement is essentially a clean slate, treating the crime as though it never happened. Your record is destroyed or removed and cannot be accessed at all—even with a court order.

What are the benefits?

Having a record can be intrusive on your personal life. Criminal records are publicly available on the internet and can be accessed by anyone with the click of a mouse. Regardless of the outcome of your case, having your criminal record follow you around can be an embarrassment and could negatively impact your reputation.

It’s worth noting that with both sealing and expungement, not only do you remove your record from public access, you’re also legally permitted to deny that the criminal event in question ever happened. This is an important benefit.

If, for instance, you’re applying for a job, and you’re potential employer asks you whether you have ever been convicted of a criminal offense, you are legally allowed to respond “no.” However, if you apply for a job while your application for expungement/sealing is still being processed, you are still required to disclose your criminal history to your employer, if asked.

What if I won my case?

Even if you were found not guilty in a trial, your arrest still appears on your criminal record. Therefore, clearing your record can be worthwhile to pursue regardless of the outcome of your case.

What if my case was dismissed?

Any time you get arrested, you have a record. It is your responsibility to take proactive steps to clear your record.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 773-793-3196
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