Most people believe that once they have completed a court sentence successfully, that their sentence will not visible to others for purposes of employment or background checks. Often, this belief is the result of a police officer or attorney telling them that the charge will no longer “be on their record” as long as they comply with all court orders. Although this is sometimes true, usually it is not, and information about the crime will usually continue to be available from certain data sources even after the case is successfully terminated. In such circumstances, expungement is usually a wise choice.
What Is Expungement?
Although it was once true that to have your criminal record expunged, a previous conviction of a crime or municipal ordinance would block this procedure, this is no longer the case. Various other rules also apply to whether you will eligible for expungement, which is a different process than having your criminal record sealed. Expungement is intended to hide your information from police, whereas a sealing is not. If you received any jail, prison time, probation, or conditional discharge on your court offense, chances are that you would not qualify for expungement. However, in such circumstances, you can likely still apply to get your criminal records sealed.
The Process of Expungement
The expungement process is sometimes lengthy, and you or your attorney will need to fill out many forms that will help erase your arrests, court supervisions, and some types of probation from your criminal record. There are court costs associated with filing these forms, but you may be able to submit a fee waiver depending on your financial condition. The state or local government may also object to the filing or request a hearing before a judge.
Once the expungement has been approved, certain records related to the crime will either be destroyed or returned from you, which means that your name should no longer appear in public criminal records. In the future, it is unlikely you will have to disclose any arrests or charges to your employer.
Can You Remove an Assault Charge in Illinois?
Expunging an assault charge depends on the type of charge alleged and whether there was a conviction. To expunge an assault charge in Illinois, the charge must have resulted in:
- The acquittal, dismissal, or a release without being charged
- The charge or conviction being vacated, overturned, or reversed
- Your completion of court supervision or a qualified probation
You must typically wait at least two years from the time that the court sentence for the assault charge was terminated in order to begin the expungement process. However, if the assault charge was dismissed, an expungement can be started almost immediately.
How an Attorney Can Help Expunge Your Criminal Record
Getting your record expunged may take months to complete and require meticulous attention to the petition forms submitted. An experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer will be able to get your petition for expungement filed as quickly as possible and expedite the process whenever applicable. Many people find lawyers to be a great asset when trying to navigate the sometimes confusing paperwork and relieving some of the time commitment required for filing. Attorneys are also helpful in preparing you to speak before a judge if a hearing is necessary as well as trying to alleviate some of the pressure involved.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are attempting to get an assault charge expunged from your record, contact a Chicago defense attorney at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC for more information. We have been helping people charged with serious offenses for over 25 years. We will be able to determine whether you are eligible for expungement, sealing or other avenues to a brighter future. Call our attorneys at (312) 644-0444 for a free initial consultation.