When you are arrested and charged with a crime, your arrest will remain on your permanent record, even if the charges against you are dismissed. Criminal background checks are often part of the application process when you are looking for a job, a loan, or even admission to certain educational programs. If you have even just one arrest in your history, you may be forced to answer some uncomfortable and often embarrassing questions from hiring managers, lenders, and admissions officers. Depending on how your case played out, however, you may be eligible to have your arrest record expunged . Thanks to a new law in Illinois, more individuals could qualify for expungement going forward helping those who have made mistakes build a better future.
As intimidating as the word “expungement” may sound, its meaning is very positive. Expungement is the complete destruction of all records related to a particular arrest and prosecution. When an arrest record is expunged, it is no longer visible on background checks, and you will no longer be required to disclose you were ever arrested for that charge. It is almost as though the arrest never happened.
Strict Limits for Expungement Eligibility
Eligibility for expungement in Illinois is based on a two-pronged approach. The first element deals with the arrest itself. The law provides that expungement may be available for an arrest that did not result in a guilty verdict or a guilty plea with a penalty other than court supervision. Certain offenses cannot be expunged even if court supervision is imposed, including sexual offenses involving a victim under age 18, driving under the influence, and reckless driving by a driver age 25 or over.
The second element involves whether a particular individual qualifies for expungement. Prior to the new guidelines taking effect on Jan 1, 2017, the law prohibited a person from applying for expungement of an arrest if he or she has ever been convicted of a criminal offense not including the arrest in question. This means that if you were convicted of a shoplifting misdemeanor many years ago, for example, and you wanted to get a more recent arrest expunged from your record, you would not have be eligible to apply under the old law.
New Changes to the Law
Beginning this year, those with prior convictions will be allowed to apply for expungement of an otherwise eligible arrest. The expungement will not remove the conviction from the individual’s record, and the ability to apply does not guarantee that the expungement will be approved. The new law simply makes expungement potentially available to thousands of individuals who have long since paid for their past mistakes. Lawmakers are hopeful that by opening the process to more people, those with prior convictions will be able to move forward more easily and avoid missed opportunities in the future.
We Can Help
If you have recently finished a court supervision program or had charges against you dismissed and would like to learn more about getting the offense expunged from your record, contact an experienced Will County expungement lawyer . Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free confidential consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today. We will help you understand the applicable laws and will work with you in completing the expungement process as quickly as possible.