Articles Posted in Expungement

courtWhen the state objects to your expungement, it does not mean the judge will deny your request, but it does make the process more complicated. If you are facing a similar situation, you need to contact a seasoned Chicago expungement attorney who understands how to handle these types of cases. With years of experience, Attorney John D. Ioakimidis is committed to helping Illinois clients seek the fresh start they need to move on with their life. He has been named as one of the “Top 20 Criminal Defense Attorneys” by Expertise, and you can trust that you are in good hands with Attorney Ioakimidis.

In Illinois, you can clear your criminal record in two ways:  expungement or sealing. When a record is expunged, the arresting agency or the Illinois State Police physically destroys the criminal record or gives the record back to you. In such cases, the Clerk’s Office will clear your name from the docket system and remove the court documents so that they cannot be accessed by members of the public.

If your record is sealed, it cannot be obtained without a court order to unseal the record and is not accessible to the vast majority of the public, although these records are still available to law enforcement and prosecutors. When it comes to sealing records, the Clerk’s Office will also clear your name from the docket system and remove the court documents.

courtHaving a criminal record as a minor can adversely affect your future in every way. If you are a juvenile offender, you may be able to clear your record by having your court record expunged. Named a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association, Chicago expungement attorney John D. Ioakimidis understands the nuances of this area of law and can help you understand your legal rights and options.

An expungement means that all records of your case are completely removed and destroyed from all files under the government’s control. In other words, expungement is like “wiping the slate clean.” In certain cases, minors may be eligible to have their records expunged. A juvenile record includes fingerprints, photographs, arrest reports, and computer entries connecting a person arrested prior to their 18th birthday with an arrest or juvenile criminal court case.

In Illinois, any case prosecuted in juvenile court other than first-degree murder and felony sex offenses may be expunged. Certain requirements, however, must be met to be eligible for a juvenile expungement. If you were placed under arrest prior to your 18th birthday, but the matter did not go to court, police departments are required to automatically expunge the record of your arrest if you have not been arrested since then, and one full year has gone past since you were arrested. The exception to this rule is if you were placed under arrest for a sex crime or any class 2 or higher felony.

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lawyerThere is no doubt that having a criminal record can adversely affect all areas of your life, including your job prospects, housing, and even your personal reputation. At John D. Ioakimidis, our Chicago expungement attorneys represent clients who are seeking to clear their criminal record through expungement. With years of experience, we can thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

Even if you were arrested and released without charges, or the charges were later dismissed, this information will be codified in a public record. In addition, if you received a sentence to Court Supervision for a misdemeanor or were placed on Probation for certain felonies, your case will remain a public record even after you finish your sentence.

Expungement refers to the court-ordered process through which the legal record of a person’s arrest or criminal conviction is erased in the eyes of the law and the public. The Illinois Criminal Identification Act allows persons in certain situations to clear arrests, charges, probation supervision, or even criminal convictions from their criminal records through expungement or sealing. With expungement, all or part of your record is physically destroyed so that not even law enforcement can discover it at a later time. A sealed record, on the other hand, is not physically destroyed but is made inaccessible to the general public (i.e., an employer), while it is still available for law enforcement to discover.

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Drug and TASC probation is a special kind of probation because the law allows you to avoid a criminal conviction and eventually expunge your arrest record. It is one of the few ways to avoid going to jail and avoiding a permanent criminal conviction.

Under “regular” probation, a felony conviction stays on your record forever unless the Governor issues a pardon – not very common.  Understanding the differences between drug, TASC and regular probation is important because it can mean the difference between having a clean record or being permanently labeled a convicted felon.

A further distinction is also necessary between drug probation and TASC probation.  For drug probation, you have been charged with possessing illegal drugs.  For TASC probation, the charge does not have to be drug-related, but rather, have to elect to be treated as a person with a drug problem.   For example, if you are charged with Residential Burglary, you would not be eligible for drug probation or regular probation, but may be eligible for TASC probation.

ExpungmentThe Illinois legislature has passed a bill that would remove expungment fees in Cook County for people who were never convicted.  This is one of the most promising and positive changes to the expungement process.  If you are arrested and your case is dismissed or you are found not guilty, even though you technically do not have a criminal record, a public record of the case exists and the only way to remove that public record is to petition the Court to expunge, or to remove the case from the public record.  The expungment process can take several months, and depending on the county the case was in, could cost you several hundred dollars.  House Bill 6328, which was passed in the last legislative session, would establish a pilot program in Cook County which would remove fees for cases resulting in “release without charging,” or an arrest which resulted in dismissal, acquittal or a conviction that was later overturned.  An earlier version of the bill would have applied to every County in the State but received resistance from the Illinois State Police and Court Clerks who objected to the loss in revenue from the expungment fees paid.  In a compromise measure the legislature established this pilot program which only applies to Cook County for now.  It is somewhat offensive that government should profit from fees that innocent people have to pay to clear records that should never have existed to begin with.  But in spite of the unfairness, this bill is a significant measure which will affect the lives of many people.  Of the 70,000 people who enter Cook County Jail every year, roughly 12,000 of them end up having their cases dropped or are found not guilty.  There’s no way to know how many more people have their cases dismissed, dropped or found not guilty who never entered Cook County Jail.  This is really important because even though all these people were not convicted, the charges remain a public record which could make it very difficult to get a job.  We frequently get calls from people seeking to expunge their backgrounds because they can’t get a job and consequently have no money to pay the fees needed to clear their record.  It’s a viscous circle which is just plain wrong and unjust.  Hopefully this bill will be seen as a giant step in fixing a giant injustice.

The bill is awaiting the Governor’s signature.

James Dimeas is an award winning Chicago criminal defense attorney and author with more than 23 years of experience aggressively helping his clients expunge their criminal records.  If you need to have your record expunged in Illinois, contact me in Chicago (312-229-5500), DuPage and Kane (630-504-2096) or Lake (847-696-6458) for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.