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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Why Should You Have Your IL Criminal Record Sealed?

Having your criminal record sealed in Illinois greatly benefits those with a criminal history. While not every conviction can be sealed or expunged, those eligible to have their criminal records sealed can get a boost from going through the process and getting it done.

What is criminal record sealing, how is it different from expungement, who qualifies, and how can it benefit you? Read on to find out the answers to these questions!

What Is Criminal Record Sealing in Illinois?

You often hear the terms “record sealing” and “expungement” used interchangeably, but they are two very different things under the law.

While both of these processes will take criminal records out of public view, an expungement means that the record is erased as if it never occurred. Sealing, however, means that the record is hidden from public view but will still come up when searched by certain employers and law enforcement agencies.

Sealed records cannot be accessed by the general public. However, background checks will still identify some convictions. If you hope to work someplace that will complete a background check for employment, such as a hospital, daycare, police department, or government job, they will be able to see your criminal record. Other employers will not – and neither can a potential landlord.

What Criminal Records Can Be Sealed in Illinois?

Only certain things can be sealed when it comes to criminal records. You can have an arrest or a charge for misdemeanors or felonies sealed if you were never convicted.

You might also encounter these situations:

  • The charges against you were dismissed
  • You were acquitted
  • You were released without ever being charged
  • You had a conviction reversed or vacated

In most cases, convictions can be sealed, whether misdemeanors or felonies. However, if you were convicted of one of these offenses, then it cannot be sealed:

  • DUIs
  • Domestic battery
  • Reckless driving
  • Felony public indecency
  • Violation of a no-contact order
  • Minor traffic violations
  • Sex offenses except for prostitution
  • Dog fighting
  • Any conviction that required you to register as a sex offender

Why Should You Seal Your Criminal Record?

If you are eligible, there are many reasons why you should do what you can to have your criminal record sealed. Some of the benefits of sealing a criminal record in Illinois include the following:

Better Housing

Those who rent know that finding a great place to live can be a real challenge. It can be made even more challenging with a criminal record due to background checks.

By having your criminal record sealed, you will have a better chance of securing desirable housing for you at a price you can afford. And even if you’re looking to buy a home, record sealing can help you get the loan you need at a rate you can afford.

Professional Licenses

Some jobs will require you to get special licensing to perform them, but that is not an option for people who have a criminal history in many cases. With record sealing, you may still be able to get the licensure you need for your dream job.

Why Should You Seal Your Criminal Record in Chicago?

Better Credit

Credit is important to get ahead, and a criminal history can also impact that. Sealing your record means your credit history won’t be negatively impacted by your criminal history anymore.

 

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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