Four Criminal Expungement Myths Exposed

 Posted on January 30, 2017 in Expungement

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal law, Illinois criminal lawyer,For individuals in the state of Illinois who have never been convicted of a crime, having a record expunged has the power to bring an overwhelming amount of relief and to open up a world of possibilities for the future. Criminal expungement essentially “erases” your criminal record, which can help eliminate the fear of missing out on future employment opportunities or possibly experiencing negative effects on any current employment standing. The benefits of expungement extend even further when it comes to your overall reputation. A clean record can give you peace of mind, a fresh slate, and the confidence you need to move forward after your arrest.

Truths and Common Misconceptions

As beneficial as criminal expungement can be, there are many misunderstandings about the process and what it means for the offender once everything is all said and done. The following facts and misconceptions commonly cause confusion for first-time offenders approaching the topic of expungement:

1. Automatic expungement does not exist.

The moment you are arrested, you have a record. It does not matter if you were charged, found not guilty, or had your case dismissed. Criminal charges and case dismissal are separate issues. An arrest is an arrest; if you have been taken into custody, the incident will be documented and treated as an official “record”. To have that record expunged, you will need to speak with an attorney and find out if you qualify.

2. Most felony convictions cannot be expunged.

Just because the felony on your record may be considered non-violent does not mean it is qualified to be expunged. In fact, most felony convictions cannot be erased. There are certain exceptions for sealing felonies, however, and you may be eligible to request a pardon from the governor to authorize expungement of the conviction.

3. You are not guaranteed to be exempt from any fees.

The Criminal Identification Act is very clear about this matter. It states that no person whose record is expunged is entitled to remission of any costs associated with the expungement process. This includes any additional money that was paid as a consequence of the expungement. Even if you feel you were wrongly arrested and charged, you are still responsible for paying any fees that are incurred from having your record expunged.

4. Case dismissal does not mean your record is erased.

Due to the fact that an arrest counts as a record in your name, whether your case is dismissed or not is irrelevant. You do not need to be charged with a criminal offense to have a record. Even if an arrest is all that exists, you will still need to petition to have it expunged if you wish to erase documentation of the incident.

Criminal record expungement can be confusing, especially when feel you were unjustly accused of an offense. You can take a proactive step in protecting your rights, your record, and ultimately your future by speaking with a skilled Chicago criminal defense lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today at 312-629-0669 for a consultation.



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