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Chicagoland Expungement Attorneys

illinois expungement questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Expungements in Illinois

Q: How can my criminal record affect my job application?

A: It depends on the type of job you are applying for, what is on your criminal record, how old your record is, and the discretion of the employer. In general, an employer who obtains your criminal records is less likely to hire you over someone with a clean criminal history and otherwise equal qualifications.

Q: How can my criminal record affect my college application?

A: An increasing number of colleges are choosing to run criminal background checks as part of the application process. If anything shows up on your record, it could adversely affect your application. Certain types of crimes may also create difficulty in obtaining student loans, grants, and housing for college.

Q: How long does it take to have my criminal records expunged or sealed?

A: From start to finish, the process takes at least a few months. The state of Illinois has up to 60 days to object to your Petition to Expunge or Petition to Seal. The speed of processing within your jurisdiction can also be a factor. Provided there are no objections and the petition is processed within a reasonable amount of time, three to four months is a solid estimate.

Q: Who is allowed to view my expunged or sealed record.

A: When your criminal record is expunged, it is erased, the records are destroyed, and it is as if it never happened. Once the process is completed, no one is able to access the records again, and no one will ever know about these records unless you inform them. With sealing, the records still exist, they are just hidden from public view. Most employers, agencies and members of the general public are not allowed to access sealed records. Exceptions include law enforcement, the court system, the military, and certain occupational licensing agencies.

Q: After the expungement or sealing process is completed, am I required to tell employers or licensing agencies about my record?

A: With expungements, no. And employers are not allowed to ask if you have expunged criminal records. With sealing, most of the time, the answer is also no. There are a few employers and licensing agencies that are allowed to ask if you have sealed criminal records.

Q: I was never convicted of a crime. Do I still need to petition for expungement or sealing?

A: Yes. Any time you are arrested, it becomes part of your criminal record, regardless of the final disposition. This record then becomes viewable to prospective employers, lenders, universities, landlords, and others you may interact with. To ensure you are not adversely impacted by your arrest record, you must be proactive and seek to have it removed or sealed.

Q: If I was mistakenly arrested in the first place, do I still have to go through the expungement process?

A: Yes. The law makes no distinction between "good" and "bad" arrests. Though it may be unfair, an arrest will appear on your criminal record regardless of the circumstances, and you must take proactive steps to remove it.

Q: I was arrested as a juvenile. Can I have my arrest record expunged or sealed?

A: Provided you at least 18 and meet all the other qualifications, juvenile criminal records can be expunged. Unfortunately, record sealing is generally not available for juvenile records.

Q: After a period of time, are my arrest records automatically expunged?

A: No. There is no such thing as an automatic expungement. Arrests are part of your permanent criminal record, and unless you take action to have them removed, they will remain on your record.

Q: Do I need an attorney to go through the expungement or sealing process?

A: No, however, it can be confusing to go forward on your own. Our network of experienced Illinois Expungement Lawyers works closely with clients to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible. For a free initial consultation with our skilled and compassionate expungement attorneys, contact us online today.

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