A criminal record will follow you and negatively impact your professional and personal life, including your educational and career aspirations, your family relationships, your housing situation, and any immigration benefits. Even if the offense is a misdemeanor, if you are convicted of a second or greater offense, you are at increased risk for a jail sentence in Illinois.
However, there are ways to remove records of misdemeanors, and even some felonies. Expungement is the process of removing criminal convictions and arrests from a person’s record so that these do not show in background checks. The process of expungement will often allow you to assert that you have not been convicted of a crime, and it removes evidence of an arrest and conviction from the public record. However, records cannot always be expunged. If you are arrested for a misdemeanor crime in Illinois, you need all the help you can get to receive expungement.
The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges. We know the courts and the criminal justice system and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines, and recognize when to take your case to trial, as well as how to get your records expunged. We have been successful in having criminal arrests removed from our clients’ records, and we will do everything possible to vigorously fight for you.
We offer a free initial consultation. If you have been accused of any criminal charges, get help today by calling 630-305-0222.
Misdemeanor criminal charges are those that have a maximum sentence of one year in jail or less, usually with no mandatory minimum jail time for most charges and can include fines of up to $2,500.
Misdemeanor charges include:
The Illinois Criminal Identification Act, Chapter 20, Section 2630/5.2 of the Illinois Statutes, deals with expungement and sealing of criminal records. It is a complicated law that states which offenses may or may not be cleared.
In Illinois, there is a difference between “expunging” and “sealing” a criminal record. To be eligible for expungement, you must not ever have been convicted of a crime or violated a municipal ordinance. If you are successful in your quest for expungement, your name will be removed from public criminal records and expunged records will be destroyed or returned to you.
Most misdemeanors are eligible to be expunged within 2 years of any court supervision, and most arrest records, dismissals, and other events can be removed from a criminal record even sooner.
If you were arrested and charged, but found not guilty, or acquitted or dismissed, then the case can be expunged. If you have been convicted, you will not be able to have your records expunged, but you may be able to have them sealed. Sealed records are not destroyed, but they are kept confidential. Law enforcement may still access the records, but the general public usually will not. Sealed charges may be reopened if the court so requests and if you are charged with the same offense again.
Some misdemeanor convictions qualify for sealing in Illinois, but many — including driving under the influence, assault, battery, and most sex offenses — do not. If your convictions do not qualify for sealing, the only way to clear your record is to receive a pardon from the governor that authorizes the expungement of your record.
A criminal record will affect you for the rest of your life if you cannot get it sealed or expunged. Illinois law is complicated, and judges do not always interpret it consistently, so it makes sense to have an attorney on your side.
The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and can greatly increase your chances of getting your misdemeanor expunged or sealed.
Don’t delay — contact us for help today at 630-305-0222 if you have been accused of any criminal charges. Our Illinois criminal lawyers represent clients in DuPage County, Will County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Bolingbrook, and the Greater Chicagoland area in Illinois.
Your free initial consultation can be scheduled at our office.