New law in Illinois may help felons seal their criminal records

On behalf of Law Office of Steven Haney posted in Felonies on Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oftentimes, individuals who commit criminal acts at one point in their lives reform their ways and move forward to lead healthy, happy and productive futures. Unfortunately, when you are convicted of a criminal act, this incident ordinarily remains on your criminal record for the rest of your life. Even if your criminal act occurred so long ago that you can hardly remember what drove you to make that decision, these acts on your record can keep you from securing an education, employment and housing.

Illinois lawmakers have recognized that individuals who have committed certain felonies in the past but have kept a clean record since that time should be made eligible to have their records sealed. Once those records are sealed, affected individuals will find it easier to secure employment and schooling. This in turn will likely help many former felons transition out of poverty and into more financially stable living situations.

Specifically, a new Illinois law will allow former felons charged with low-level offenses including marijuana possession, burglary, forgery, possession of a stolen car or other vehicle and retail theft to apply to seal their criminal records. These individuals will be able to apply through the Illinois court that originally charged them with felonies. It is worth noting that if individuals commit an additional felony after their records are sealed, they will likely not be allowed to seal their records again.

If you are interested in having your former felony convictions sealed, please contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the intricacies of the new Illinois law.

Source: Chicago Now, “A way out of poverty: New Illinois law allows some felons to have their records sealed,” Yana Kunichoff, Sep. 10, 2013