If you’re like many people with a criminal history, you know that you may have the option to seal or expunge it. But why would a record be sealed? Here’s what you need to know.
Why Would a Record Be Sealed?
Sealing is a public policy that helps people begin moving forward after being arrested, charged with a crime, or convicted of a crime. It also helps the state keep track of people’s past histories, which may be beneficial to the state or to other people living in the state.
Sometimes people choose to have a criminal record sealed because they’re tired of it hanging over their heads. When criminal records are public information, sometimes landlords, employers, and others hold them over the person’s head – even when that person has paid his or her debt to society and is trying to move on. It’s hard to put the past in the past when there’s always a reminder of something you did hanging over your head.
Sealing is often an alternative when a record doesn’t qualify for expungement, too. Expungement erases criminal records forever – when a record is expunged, it’s like it never existed in the first place. Because expungement is essentially wiping a person’s slate clean, it’s not available for most convictions; it’s typically only available for arrests that never resulted in a conviction, or some crimes where the punishment was probation. However, when a person’s record doesn’t qualify for expungement, sealing may still be an option.
Are You Thinking About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?
DIY criminal record sealing, or do-it-yourself criminal record sealing, is a process that you do yourself rather than hiring an attorney to do it for you. You can do your own criminal record sealing petition without paying a lawyer. In fact, we have a full suite of tools you can use to seal your criminal record on your own so that you don’t have to pay an attorney.
In our DIY sealing service, you’ll get:
- Instant access to all the forms you need to seal your record ANYWHERE in Illinois
- Step-by-step instructions on how to fill out and file your forms (in video and text formats)
- Directions on where to file your forms for your jurisdiction
- Exclusive access to a messaging system you can use to contact an attorney for free while you’re working through your own sealing case