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An Opportunity for Expungement

July 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am

opportunity, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Cook County Circuit Court, criminal records sealed, expungement, Illinois law, law-abiding citizensUnder Illinois law, those convicted of certain crimes may be able to clear their criminal record. While this is a positive thing for many eligible people, the problem is that many are not aware of their option to do so. This often puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to education and employment opportunities after completing their sentences. However, according to a recent article, the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court is working to spread awareness about the law so that people can take advantage of the benefits it offers in having their records expunged.

Expungement Summit

The clerk has been running a campaign for the last ten years aimed at educating offenders about their options to get their criminal records sealed or expunged. While she has made progress, there is still room for improvement, particularly among juvenile offenders. An educational summit will be held to continue the campaign. The goal is to let people know if they have an opportunity to expunge their court records, and to take advantage of the second chance it affords them to be law-abiding citizens and productive members of society. The law is aimed at removing as many obstacles as possible for people who are trying to better themselves and the life of their family. Many agencies and organizations from Cook County will be involved in hosting the event.

Criminal Convictions

After the tragedy of 9/11, the number of background checks performed on job applicants drastically increased from 20 percent to 80 percent. This statistic presented obvious difficulties in securing employment for those with a criminal record. Perhaps more problematic is that even those charged with minor infractions in the past were denied jobs and other opportunities because of the charges.

Employment opportunities are not the only thing with which a criminal record can interfere. Prior criminal charges in court records can affect education opportunities, bank loan applications, eligibility for military service, and housing or rental applications, just to name a few. Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that even if a defendant was later found innocent of a charge or never charged with a crime, he or she may still have an arrest record.

Juveniles

Although the number of juvenile applications for expungements have increased in recent years, it is believed that only a fraction of those eligible apply. Part of the problem may be that since juvenile cases are confidential, those charged with juvenile crimes mistakenly think no one can access their record anyway, so there is no need to get the case expunged. This likely causes many juvenile offenders to never think they need to seek an expungement.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There is a legal process involved in applying for and successfully obtaining an expungement. If you are interested in petitioning the court to clear your criminal record, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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