If you have been arrested, you have a criminal record. Even if the case was dismissed or you were told that after a certain amount of time, it would disappear, this is likely not true.
As of January 1, 2017, the Illinois Criminal Identification Act now allows records of acquittals, dismissals, and satisfactorily completed non-conviction sentences to be expunged regardless of past convictions. This change is significant, because the Act previously disallowed expungement if individuals had any convictions on their adult record. The all-or-nothing approach is a rule of the past, and individuals may now be eligible to expunge records seen by employers, landlords, etc.
Convictions are not eligible for expungement, but individuals may be able to seal the records. Expungement in Illinois results in all of the records in your case being removed and destroyed. This includes the Illinois State Police destroying all records in its possession. Sealing does not destroy the record, but it does limit who can see it. Generally, only people with a court order or access to fingerprint background checks will be able to see your record, including law enforcement and a limited group of employers and other entities allowed by law. Sealing should prevent a record from appearing on a general, non-fingerprint criminal background check.
The Law Offices of Hannah Garst, P.C., can help you expunge or seal your record. Contact us at (773) 248-6504 for a free assessment of your case to determine if you are eligible for expungement or sealing.