Getting a Criminal Conviction Off Your Record
A criminal conviction, even for a minor crime, can have a major impact on your life. The conviction will show up on criminal background checks, keep you from getting a job, make it difficult to find housing, and even prevent you from obtaining certain types of professional licenses. In some cases, however, it may be possible to have your criminal record sealed or expunged.
What Are Expungements?
Expungement is the legal process in which the record of a criminal conviction is removed from official court records. If an expungement is granted, a conviction will no longer appear on criminal background checks. And, most of the time, the person previously convicted will be able to tell future employers or financial institutions that he or she does not have any criminal convictions on employment and housing forms.
Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible for an expungement. Typically, you need to have been convicted of a misdemeanor and not a felony. You also need to only have one criminal conviction on your record. Some crimes are ineligible for expungement altogether.
Can I Get My Record Sealed?
Some past offenders may be able to have criminal records sealed. This means that all the records relating to an offense will be "closed" and can only be accessed with permission of a judge after showing there is a proper reason to access the records. Some offenses are eligible for both expungement and sealing. In certain circumstances, however, a person may only qualify for one or the other.
What About a Pardon?
Only governors (or the President) can issue pardons. Pardons are official statements that declare a person should no longer suffer the consequences of past criminal convictions. Governors issue pardons for violations of state law, and the President can issue pardons for violations of federal law. Pardons are extremely difficult to obtain.
No one has a legal right to a pardon, but an official process to ask for consideration for a pardon does exist. A pardon application must be meticulously prepared and definitively explain why you should be considered for such an extreme measure. Pardons are available for both felonies and misdemeanors and can cover more than one crime. Governors and the President have discretion for whom pardons can be issued, and most governors only ever issue a few pardons while they are in office.
If you have been convicted of a crime and are interested in trying to have it removed from your record, you need to contact an experienced and skilled Maywood, IL expungement lawyer right away. Call Stringini & Garvey, P.C. at 630-675-2788 today to set up a free initial consultation. One mistake does not have to ruin your life.