If you have ever been arrested on the suspicion of a crime, your arrest becomes part of your permanent criminal record, even if you never convicted. Potential employers, financial institutions, and even educational admissions officers could conduct background checks when you apply for a job, loan, or school program. Even just a single arrest in your history could lead to uncomfortable conversations and embarrassing questions long after the incident itself has been all but forgotten. Depending on how your case was resolved, however, your arrest may qualify to be expunged or removed from your permanent record. Thanks to a new law that became effective this year, more individuals than ever before could be eligible to restore lost opportunities by clearing their record.
What Is Expungement?
When an arrest is expunged, it means that all physical and digital records related to that arrest and subsequent prosecution are destroyed, deleted, or otherwise rendered inaccessible. An expunged arrest essentially never happened, and the arrest cannot be seen on background checks conducted for any purpose. Removing an arrest from one’s record can obviously be a tremendous help to that person’s future.
In Illinois, an arrest is only eligible to be expunged if it did not result in a conviction. An expungement may also be possible for certain arrests that resulted in court supervision or probation, as long as the requirements set forth have been successfully completed.
Old Law vs. New Law
Prior to 2017, the law in Illinois prohibited individuals with a prior conviction from seeking an expungement for any other arrest. This meant that if you had ever been convicted of a crime—other than a minor traffic offense—you could never have any other arrests expunged. Your application would be immediately rejected. As one might expect, this limitation eliminated expungement as an option for thousands of people, many of whom may have committed their indiscretion decades ago.
Beginning this year, however, the application requirements were amended to allow individuals with prior convictions to seek an expungement. Of course, the other eligibility criteria must still be met, and the expungement will not apply to the offense that resulted in the conviction.
Let Us Help
If you have questions about getting an arrest permanently removed from your criminal record, an experienced Kane County expungement attorney can help you explore your options. We will review your case and work with you in determining your eligibility for restoring future opportunities. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation today.