Having a criminal record in Illinois makes life more difficult. An Illinois criminal record can limit you from getting a higher-paying job, renting desirable housing, obtaining professional licenses, qualifying for government services and programs such as student loans, and earning countless opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
Many counties in Illinois provide the public with easy online access to criminal records, making it possible for anyone with a computer to find this sensitive information. Fortunately, Illinois state law permits many individuals to expunge or seal their adult and juvenile records, restore their firearm rights, and move on in life without the stigma and limitations that come with having an Illinois criminal record.
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our secure, confidential Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
The two biggest issues our law firm’s clients encounter relate to obtaining employment and restoring firearm rights, so we’re going to discuss each. Illinois law permits you to seal both misdemeanor and felony convictions, expunge arrest records, restore firearm rights, and expunge juvenile records. Each of these legal remedies has different consequences which are important to understand
We’re going to briefly review the consequences of expungement, sealing, juvenile sealing, and firearm restoration below, but, if you want more information, please visit the page specific to that legal service.
Expunging an Illinois criminal record is often the best way to improve your chances of getting a job with a criminal record. An expungement eliminates your criminal record as if it never happened, allowing you to legally state that the criminal incident never even occurred in nearly all employment situations. However, some state agencies can seek access to expunged or sealed records, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, correctional institutions, military, and the Department of Child and Family Services.
When you do not qualify for an expungement, sealing your criminal record is the next best option. In many circumstances, sealing your record will have the same benefit as an expungement for purposes of obtaining employment. Sealing your record hides it from the public, but law enforcement agencies may still access your sealed record.
Most employers cannot see a sealed conviction; however, certain employers can see sealed felony convictions. Employers that can see sealed felony convictions in a background check include: (i) financial institutions, (ii) fire departments, (ii) private carrier companies, (iii) schools, (iv) park districts, (v) healthcare organizations, and (vi) childcare organizations. None of these organizations can see sealed misdemeanor convictions, though.
Expunging a juvenile criminal record under Illinois law allows you to legally state that you were not convicted of a crime—it is if it never occurred, and, with very few exceptions, it cannot be accessed. Very few agencies can see expunged juvenile records, which include: (i) immigration officials; (ii) law enforcement; and (iii) military and national security agencies, if applying for a job with them. Your expunged juvenile record should not appear in a background check, and an employer cannot use expunged juvenile records against you without violating the Juvenile Expungement Act 705 ILCS 405/5-915.
Firearm rights restoration services have little effect on background checks, as they focus on the restoration of your Second Amendment rights, and neither hide nor remove your criminal record. However, some jobs, such as being a security guard, require that you have a firearm. Restoring your ability to have a firearm may be a prerequisite for working these types of jobs.
Not everybody with a criminal record in Illinois can restore their constitutional right to own or possess a firearm, but Illinois’s laws are favorable when compared to other states. Expungement, record sealing, and juvenile expungement do not restore firearm rights, but successfully petitioning for relief to obtain a FOID (firearm owner’s identification card) does restore these rights.
It should be noted that you can almost never restore firearm rights based on federal convictions, and it can be difficult if your Second Amendment rights were taken away due to a domestic violence conviction. For more information about federal firearm rights and domestic violence charges, the Department of Justice has resources you can find over domestic violence convictions.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in Illinois on our Illinois Firearm Rights Restoration Page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in Illinois include:
Removing a finding of guilt from your criminal record to help you get a better job
Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
Restoring your Second Amendment Right to bear arms
No longer being treated as a felon
Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
Each of Illinois's methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what Illinois criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of Illinois criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a Illinois criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all Illinois state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!