Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new expungement law on Aug. 24, 2017. The new rules come from two different acts: Public Act 100-0284 and Public Act 100-0285. Before the law was passed, Illinois was notorious for having juvenile expungement laws that were among the worst in the nation. Public Act 099-0835 gives more rights to juvenile offenders.
As Chicago expungement attorneys, we want you to understand what rights you have. You may have made a mistake when you were younger. We do not believe that you should be haunted by these actions forever. Keep reading for more information on the latest expungement laws.
Expungement: A Brief Overview
When you are convicted of a criminal offense, there are more consequences than just jail time or fines. Employers do background checks, and landlords want to know your history. If they find that you have committed an offense, they are less likely to consider you for employment or housing. This can be frustrating, because you may be qualified to work or wish to live somewhere specific. Financial institutions, such as banks, also might check your criminal record.
It does not necessarily even have to be a conviction to cause you problems. Someone may be able to find your criminal history, even if it was just an arrest or if you were released without charges.
But when you have your record expunged, a potential employer, landlord, or interested person should not be able to see what you were charged or convicted of. For legal purposes, you are not required to divulge that the offense ever occurred. After your records are expunged, people should only know of your history if you tell them.
This is similar to a legal process called sealing, but these processes are not exactly the same. In an expungement, your record is not available to anyone. Sealing, however, usually, means that your record is still open to police, courts, and other members of the justice system. But it is hidden from private companies like employers and landlords.
Not every crime is eligible for expunging or sealing. For example, convictions for domestic battery, DUI, sex crimes and reckless driving cannot be removed or hidden from your record.
Expunging your record can be a big benefit to people who have a history with the law. It can provide someone with a ‘clean slate’, and a chance to start again.
The New Sealing and Expungement Laws
Public Act 099-0835 changes how expungement works for minors. Before, people had to wait until their 18th birthday before they could have their records expunged. Now, under certain circumstances, they may file a petition to have their records eliminated at any time.
Before, you could not expunge another charge if there was a conviction of any kind on your record. Now, if you have been convicted of something, you may still be able to expunge another case.
In addition, now there is no waiting period to expunge dismissed charges, although you will have to wait two years to expunge supervision, and five to expunge certain special probations. If you have pending charges, you cannot file to expunge.
Now, citizens of Illinois can seal a wider range of charges. For many non-sexual, non-violent charges, you can try to make sure that no employers, landlords, or banks discover your history. Additionally, the process for sealing and expunging your records is quicker and easier in some circumstances. This is especially true if you committed the crime while you were young.
At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, we believe that everyone should receive fair treatment. If you would like to have your criminal record examined to determined if you qualify for expungement or sealing, you can contact the Chicago expungement attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. All of our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced and ready to fight for you today. Call us at (312) 644-0444.