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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Old Offenses, New Opportunities: Understanding Your Rights for Expungement

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, ban the box law, Illinois recently joined four other states in passing legislation that forbids employers to ask about criminal offenses until after the person applying for a job is either selected for an interview or is hired. Despite the hope that this “Ban the Box” legislation will give some of the estimated 70 million adults in the United States who have a crime on their record a chance at a career, there are other concerns people have about their prior offenses. Many people are aware that there are processes in place in which a person may have a criminal history expunged, or erased from public databases.

Understanding Expungement

Expungement is not the same as a dismissal; it will not change the ultimate disposition of your case. Expungement is, however, an opportunity for you to remove your criminal past from public record and to help you move forward. According to the law, to expunge means “to physically destroy records or return them to the [person requesting the expungement] and to obliterate the [person’s name] from any official index or public record, or both.” Juvenile records may also be expunged in some circumstances once the juvenile is no longer a minor.

Not all records can be expunged. Minor traffic offenses, for instance, cannot be removed from a person’s record if the individual was not arrested as a result of the infraction. Furthermore, most -  if not all - felonies, domestic violence, weapons, or violent crimes offenses cannot be expunged. Pending charges may prevent your expungement from being approved by a court, as can offenses that have occurred since the offense you seek to have expunged, or failure to abide by probationary requirements that were a condition of previous sentences.

Expungement can, however, have benefits. Unless you are applying for certain government or high-security jobs, it is unlikely you will be asked about expunged records. The Ban the Box legislation helps you in this regard too; not only will you not have to initially disclose your background, but is it not likely you will have to at the next stage of the application process either. Of course, each employer is different and your rights may be affected by your unique circumstances, but the idea of getting an expungement is so you do not have to disclose information about your criminal history since the expungement essentially makes it so that there is no criminal history to disclose.

Greater Chicago Area Expungement Lawyers

Understanding your rights when it comes to expungement can be complicated. It is in your best interest to make sure the remnants of your prior conviction do not stay with you and affect your future. Even if you have previously attempted to expunge your record but the request was denied, Illinois is one of few states that allows you to appeal this decision to the court. Regardless of the unique circumstances surrounding your prior conviction, our knowledgeable Dupage County criminal expungement attorneys have the experience necessary to navigate this tricky area of the law. Getting your conviction expunged can open many doors for you and your future; contact Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. at 630-472-9700 to determine your eligibility for expungement or other legal services today.

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