Understanding the Difference Between Record Sealing and Expungement
Being convicted of a crime can severely limit one’s housing and employment opportunities. Sealing or expunging your record can often mitigate such issues. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two before filing a motion. An experienced expungement and record sealing lawyer can provide details on how you can improve the chances of a successful outcome in your criminal record sealing or expungement case.
Sealing vs. Expungement
At first glance, sealing of a criminal record and expungement might seem like the same thing, but the reality is much different. An expungement is akin to starting over with a clean slate. Any trace of your arrest or conviction is erased from government databases and no one can look up details about your case. It is almost as though it never even happened.
Record sealing is somewhat similar but not the same. Information about your conviction remains in government databases, and select groups can still access your record, including the military, healthcare providers, and financial institutions. However, most will be unable to search for or find information on your criminal conviction other than any media information that may have been published.
Who is Eligible for Expungement?
Obviously, the more favorable option for everyone would be to have their criminal record expunged. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. There are certain limitations on whom may seek expungement. For example, most felony offenders are likely to find that expungement is not an option. Misdemeanors (except DUIs and certain other exclusions) may be eligible for expungement if you have completed at least two years of probation or any other form of court supervision.
Sealing Your Records
While most felony offenders may be ineligible for expungement, some may still be able to have their records sealed, including those convicted of Class 4 felony drug possession or Class 4 felony prostitution. This can give them more options when searching for employment or housing. If you have questions or believe you could be eligible for record sealing, speak to an experienced attorney and obtain assistance.
Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyers
At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we believe everyone deserves a second chance, and we will fight to get yours by assessing your situation to determine if record sealing or expungement may be appropriate for you. We provide candid and honest feedback and will aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible. Contact an experienced Joliet expungement and record sealing attorney by calling 815-740-4025 today.