In Illinois, any time you are arrested or charged with an offense, a criminal record is created. This is true even if the case is dropped or you are found not guilty. These criminal records can be viewed by the public, including potential employers and landlords. One way to prevent the public from viewing your record is to seal your convictions. When a record is sealed, it cannot be seen by most employers or other members of the public. However, employers who are legally required to conduct fingerprint background checks can see sealed felony convictions, but they cannot see sealed misdemeanor convictions or cases not resulting in convictions. Your record still may be seen by law enforcement agencies.
Expungement is available for non-conviction sentences (i.e. acquittals, dismissals, supervision), and sealing is available for many convictions. Convictions include sentences of probation, conditional discharge, jail or prison time, time considered served, fines or ex-parte judgments, and unsatisfactory termination of supervision or probation. Eligibility for sealing your criminal record is dependent on when the case is completed and the date of your last sentence. Clients must wait 3 years from the completion of your last sentence of any conviction to file a petition to seal your criminal record. The Law Offices of Hannah Garst can help you determine if and when you are eligible to seal your record.
There is one exception to the waiting period. If you earned an educational diploma, degree, or certificate DURING your sentence, supervised release, or parole, you may be able to seal eligible offenses upon the termination of the last sentence.
A limited number of felony convictions remain ineligible to be sealed: sex offenses, domestic batteries, violations of orders of protection, DUI, reckless driving, and animal offenses. All other felonies, regardless of their class, are eligible to be sealed.
Contact the Law Offices of Hannah Garst, P.C., to obtain a free case review to determine your eligibility to expunge or seal your record.