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Joliet Criminal Records Expungement Lawyer

Will County Expungement Seal Criminal Record Lawyer

Attorney to Seal or Erase Juvenile and Adult Criminal Records in Will County

From the moment someone is arrested, the Illinois justice system begins creating records. This can include:

  • Police – Arrest report, fingerprints, photographs, interview transcripts, investigator notes.
  • State's Attorney – Additional investigation notes and filing of criminal charges.
  • Adult Criminal Court or Juvenile Court – Criminal charges filed, transcripts of hearings, the record of final case disposition.
  • Illinois State Police – Records of all arrests and convictions with mandatory fingerprint cards even for juveniles, including offenders as young as age 10 if arrested on felony charges.
  • Illinois Secretary of State – Records related to traffic tickets including DUI citations and driver's license suspensions and revocations.

Any bit of criminal history—even an arrest where charges were dismissed or you were found not guilty—could be discovered and made public at some point in the future and cause embarrassment for you. Worse, a criminal record will turn up on every background check for employment, professional licensing, education, financial aid, housing, and firearms applications. This can cause you to miss out on many opportunities throughout your life.

Illinois law provides two solutions to this: sealing and expungement.

At Honiotes Law Office, Ltd, our record sealing and expungement services can help you leave old issues in the past and move forward in life with a clean record, insofar as possible under Illinois law. Attorney Kristine Honiotes has over 14 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer and is fully versed in Illinois law on sealing and expungement.

The Difference Between Sealing and Expungement in Illinois

Sealing means that a criminal record still exists, but it is hidden from viewing by the general public and will not turn up on a typical background check. All juvenile offense records are automatically sealed by law. Adult criminal records are initially a matter of public record, but you can petition to have them sealed in most misdemeanor cases (excluding DUI) and and the majority of felony cases so long as you have maintained a clean record for the requisite period of time. 

However, even sealed records remain accessible to government agencies that have good cause to see them, including law enforcement, probation officers, the courts, the military if you apply, and the Secretary of State for vehicle code offenses. In addition, as long as a record exists, there is always the possibility that it could be discovered.

Expungement means that all physical and digital records related to a case are physically destroyed. In government records, it should appear as if the offense never happened.

Complete expungement of all case records is generally possible if the case ended in one of the following dispositions: no charges filed, charges dismissed, acquittal (not guilty), successfully completed court supervision, charge stricken with leave to reinstate (not reinstated), a governor's pardon, conviction for a misdemeanor offense (with a few exceptions), or a guilty verdict in a juvenile felony case (with a few exceptions).

The following types of cases are not eligible for expungement:

  • Juvenile cases with a guilty verdict for first-degree murder or a felony sex offense.
  • Court supervision or conviction for driving under the influence, even if a misdemeanor.
  • Court supervision or conviction for a sexual offense involving a victim under age 18.
  • Adult felony convictions, with the exception of some low-level drug possession offenses.

How to Get Criminal Records Sealed or Expunged

To request the sealing or expungement of criminal records, you must file a petition with the circuit court in each county where you have arrest or court records. Each police department or prosecutor is given the chance to object to your request. If there are no objections, the court should approve your petition. The assistance of an attorney is recommended to ensure that all possible records are identified and sealed or expunged to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Juvenile records. Juvenile records are automatically sealed. In addition, since January 1, 2018, Illinois government agencies are required to automatically expunge many juvenile records after a certain period of time. However, the effectiveness of this automatic expungement process cannot be guaranteed. A juvenile who has been found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor or a felony should talk to a lawyer about petitioning for expungement of those records to ensure that their records are cleared as quickly as possible.

Adult records. No adult criminal records are automatically sealed or expunged, so you must petition the court in each instance. This will help with any official background checks. Understand, however, that online media reports may still exist indefinitely, as adult arrests and convictions are a matter of public record at the time they occur.

Will County Criminal Records Sealing and Expungement Lawyer

If you are not sure what records may exist within various local, county, and state agencies, Honiotes Law Office can help identify those records and work with you to make sure all possible records are sealed or expunged. We will handle your case with complete attention to detail and confirm that each court petition is correctly filed and acted upon. Contact our Joliet office at 815-409-7833 for a free initial consultation. We handle record sealing and expungements in DuPage County, Grundy County, Kane County, Kendall County, and Will County.

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