Preserving Reputations and Protecting Employment Opportunities– Chicago Expungement Lawyers
Most people arrested for misdemeanors and felonies in Chicago and the surrounding metro area understand that a criminal record can cost citizens their job and future employment opportunities. These same citizens may falsely assume that there is no need to worry about such adverse consequences because they are never convicted of a crime.
Sadly, experienced expungement attorney Robert J. Callahan gets many calls from clients that only learn that this assumption was incorrect after it has cost them a job or occupational license. When you are arrested for a criminal offense in Illinois, the arrest records remain a matter of public record that can be discovered by future employers, landlords and others who conduct background checks or conduct a public records search. The only way to ensure that a future employer or others conducting criminal background checks will not learn of your arrest or conviction is to formally seek to have the records expunged.
When someone has been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony, the person arrested must be proactive to avoid the negative consequences of a public record of arrest and/or conviction. This public record of an arrest will exist even in the following situations:
- The prosecutor elects not to bring formal charges
- Charges are dismissed after being filed
- Acquittal on ALL charges at trial
- Successful completion of supervision following a conviction
- Mistrial because of a hung jury
While the criminal justice system is based on the presumption of innocence, this may be of little solace when your friends, family, current boss or prospective landlord or employer discover that you were arrested along with details about the alleged offense that served as the basis for arrest.
The expungement process in Illinois requires filing a formal petition with the court requesting that the arrest or conviction be expunged. If you were convicted of a criminal offense, the application must be filed sometime after supervision has been completed. Depending on the offense, a waiting period may be required. A formal hearing must be conducted where the judge may approve your request and remove the arrest and/or conviction from your criminal record. Once the arrest or conviction has been expunged, this relieves a citizen from being forced to disclose the arrest or conviction because it is no longer a matter of public record. It is worth reiterating that even a finding of “NOT GUILTY” following a jury trial will not clear a criminal arrest from your public record.
Although certain Class 4 felonies and misdemeanors are not subject to expungement, a citizen arrested or convicted of these offenses may still be able to have the records sealed. If the record is sealed, it can only be reviewed by law enforcement personnel.
Most felony records of arrest or conviction cannot be expunged or sealed even if the felony is non-violent. Exceptions to this general rule include:
- Class 4 prostitution in some cases
- Felony arrests that do not result in a conviction (if you have a clean record)
- Class 4 felony under the Cannabis Control Act
- Steroid Control Act violations
- Methamphetamine Precursor Control Act
- Alleged violations of Section 402 of the Controlled Substance Act
If you have questions about clearing an arrest or conviction from your criminal record, the experienced criminal expungement attorneys at the Chicago criminal defense law firm of Robert J. Callahan & Associates are committed to preventing avoidable damage to our clients’ reputation and preserving future occupational opportunities. We offer a free consultation so contact us today by calling us 24/7 at 312-322-9000 or contact us online by submitting an online contact form or through our live chat.