Bridgeview Expungement Attorneys Help Clear Criminal Records
Responsive Illinois attorney helps keep your past from ruining your future
If you have a criminal record, you face a lifetime of consequences that can be hard to overcome, even after you’ve served your sentence and paid all fines and penalties. Your history may be a stigma that disqualifies you from certain employment, professional licenses, housing, loans, club memberships and other social and financial benefits. At Skinner Law Firm, P.C., we help clients in Cook County and throughout Illinois lessen these negative repercussions by guiding them through the process of expunging or sealing criminal records.
What does it mean to expunge or seal your criminal record?
Expungement is a process by which you secure a court order to destroy your Illinois criminal records. If your record or an arrest, charge or conviction is expunged, it is completely erased and in most cases you need not mention it to others. If expungement is not available in your case, you might be able to get your record sealed instead.
Sealing of a criminal record means that it is hidden from public access but is still accessible to law enforcement. Like expungement, sealing generally allows you to answer no when asked if you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime. However, in Illinois, once you have had a felony conviction sealed, a court may order your record unsealed upon a subsequent conviction and you may not get another record sealed.
Factors that might affect your ability to have your record expunged or sealed include the following:
- The charge was minor and your first and only offense.
- The charges against you have been dismissed.
- You were acquitted, or found not guilty.
- You were a juvenile at the time.
As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we have a thorough understanding of eligibility and procedure for attaining expungement or sealing of records in state and local courts. We will thoroughly analyze your situation to determine if you qualify and pursue the best possible form of relief.
What records cannot be expunged or sealed
Not every criminal record can be expunged or sealed. Examples of crimes that are ineligible for expungement include:
- Crimes under federal law and laws of jurisdictions outside of Illinois
- Traffic cases in which you were charged in court
- Reckless driving (if you were at least 25 years old at the time), driving under the influence or sexual offenses against a minor
- Crimes for which the sentence has not been completed, including parole, probation or court supervision
Expungement might not be available if you have been convicted of a drug crime other than certain minor marijuana convictions, although you might still be able to get your record sealed.
Your record also cannot be sealed if you have:
- Been convicted of reckless driving (if you were at least 25 years old at the time), driving under the influence, certain other driving offenses, domestic battery, violation of an order of protection, most sexual offenses, dog fighting and other animal cruelty crimes
- Not completed your criminal sentence, including parole, probation or court supervision
In addition, there may be a waiting period after your sentence is completed before the record of a crime may be expunged or sealed. We can determine whether or not you fall into any of these exceptions.
Contact a skilled Illinois expungement lawyer for a free initial consultation
A lapse in judgment or youthful mistake doesn’t have to follow you the rest of your life. If you need your criminal record to be expunged or sealed, Skinner Law Firm, P.C. may be able to help. We have been providing trusted legal services throughout the Cook County area for nearly 20 years. Please call 312-635-6459 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Bridgeview office.