There are many reasons why you should get your Illinois criminal record sealed or expunged, even for misdemeanor convictions. In this post, we’ll detail why this will benefit you and how a knowledgeable attorney can help.
Benefits to Sealing or Expunging Criminal Records in Illinois
You may not think that a prior misdemeanor conviction will have much impact on your life. Also, you may not know if record sealing will make a difference – but it really does.
Here are just a few reasons why you should consider having your record sealed or expunged.
Allows you to find better housing
If you’re planning to rent, landlords typically run a background check. Unfortunately, they may turn you down if a criminal record shows up. Alternatively, they may accept you as a renter but charge exorbitant rates or require a larger deposit than normal.
If you’re planning to buy a home, a criminal record can even prevent you from acquiring a loan at a rate you can afford.
When you opt to seal or expunge your criminal record, you have a better chance of getting the housing you desire.
Enables you to apply for licenses
Some jobs or positions require special licensing which is not available for people with prior convictions. Record sealing or expungement can allow you to pursue application for the licenses you need to move forward with your life.
Improves your ability to apply for credit
Whether you are opening a credit line, financing an education, or taking out a car loan, a criminal record can prevent you from getting what you want.
By sealing or expunging your criminal record, your credit will no longer be negatively affected by a prior conviction.
Restores your rights
You may have lost certain rights due to a conviction, such as the right to vote or the right to own firearms. In certain situations, you may be eligible for sealing or expungement to get those rights restored.
For example, if you’ve considered adopting a child, that won’t be possible with a criminal record. However, with a sealed or expunged record, your right to adoption can be given back to you.
Gives you peace of mind
Being able to officially put the past behind you takes a weight off your shoulders. You will feel like your freedom has been restored when your criminal record has been sealed or expunged.
Gives you a better chance at securing employment
The great majority of potential employers do a background check on you, which will bring up any criminal activity from the past. For many employers, this will be a red flag that instantly disqualifies you from the job you want.
Also, if new management comes into a job you already have and decides to run background checks on current employees, your employment could be at risk.
By sealing or expunging your criminal record, you eliminate the chance that you won’t pass a background check. This can help secure employment for you and may even help you qualify for a higher-paying job.
How a Skilled Chicago Criminal Attorney Can Help
When you work with an experienced Illinois defense lawyer, you can explore your options for sealing or expunging your criminal record. Your attorney will know if the conviction qualifies and what the legal process involves.
Additionally, a trusted lawyer will put forth the necessary time and effort to wipe misdemeanors or certain felonies from your record. Call today for a free consultation.
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 in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.