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Archive for the ‘criminal record’ tag

Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing

December 14th, 2018 at 2:17 pm

IL defense lawyerBeing convicted or charged with a crime has implications that last long after the prison or jail sentence has been served. A criminal record will undoubtedly haunt you for the rest of your life as you seek employment, apply for certain types of loans, find housing, and try to fit in with society again. Employment, in particular, can be difficult to procure if you have a criminal record, as employers often eliminate all applicants with records simply to protect themselves from negligent hiring lawsuits. Sadly, even innocent people are treated like criminals if they were arrested for a crime, but then never convicted. There are steps to take if you were arrested for a crime or convicted of a crime, such a expungement and sealing of criminal records, and a Cook County attorney may be able to help you in this process.

Record Sealing

Record sealing is the process of making a criminal record invisible to employers and the general public. Law enforcement, judges, and some other governmental entities may be able to access your criminal record even if it is sealed, however. And, not all crimes can be sealed. In fact, very few felony offenses can be placed under seal. Most misdemeanor crimes, however, can be sealed from public view. Although, misdemeanor offenses involving driving under the influence (DUI crimes), crimes of violence, and sexual crimes cannot be sealed, according to the Office of the State Appellate Director.

Record Expungement

Having an arrest record expunged is similar to having a criminal record sealed, except that in expungement, you are only seeking to have the arrest record erased so that public entities and employers can no longer see it. No matter what type of crime you were charged with, arrested for, interrogated about, and placed on trial for, it can be erased from the public record if you were found innocent. Your arrest record includes your fingerprints, mug shot, and more. Unfortunately, even an arrest record can seriously harm your future career and social standing within your community. Additionally, juvenile offenses, some probations, and some supervisions can be expunged from the public record as well. Record expungement involves complete destruction of the charges and offenses, unlike record sealing.

Contact a Cook County Record Expungement and Record Sealing Attorney

Record sealing and record expungement are long, complicated processes. Many people are denied simply because they became overwhelmed and did not understand how to properly file. Others are denied because their offenses are crimes that cannot be sealed, and they wasted time, money, and energy on a task that was doomed to fail. Whether you have recently been charged with a crime and need a criminal defense attorney, or you were previously charged and either convicted or proven innocent, the Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can provide the legal assistance that you need. Call us at 847-394-3200 to schedule a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www2.illinois.gov/osad/Expungement/Documents/Crinminal%20Exp%20Guide/ExpungementSealingOverview.pdf

How a Parent’s Criminal Record Impacts a Child

February 4th, 2016 at 8:33 am

parent's criminal record, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyMany people who are facing criminal charges are focused on how their charges could affect their life. A criminal conviction could mean going to jail, paying a large fine, rehabilitation, losing a job, creating a criminal record, etc. However, when the criminal defendant is a parent, the outcome of their case could have a significant impact on their child in addition to themselves. Not only are there short-term consequences, such as being unable to be there and provide for the child due to incarceration, but there are also unforeseen long-term consequences as well.

A Criminal Record is Not Just Hard On You

When you have kids, they rely on you for more than meets the eye. Not only do children financially depend on their parents, but they also rely on their parents as a source of love, affection, attention, guidance and support. When even just one parent is not around, for instance because the parent is in jail, it can be exceptionally hard on a child.

The Center for American Progress recently issued a report that focused on the various impacts that criminal charges, even merely misdemeanor charges, can have on children and families. The report explores the consequences a criminal record can have on two generations: the parent who has the criminal record and his or her children. Little attention is given to how the challenges that the parent faces due to his or her criminal record trickle down to the child as the child grows up. Barriers that the parent faces because of the criminal record are also faced by the child, as well

The report noted that approximately 300,000 children in Illinois are adversely impacted by their parent’s criminal record, and across the country nearly half of all American children have at least one parent with a criminal record. Criminal background checks are performed by colleges, employers and landlord, all of which are important to gaining upward mobility and increasing one’s chances to obtain a better living. Because parents are not able to overcome certain barriers due to their criminal record, their children are negatively impacted.

A criminal record can make life challenging. Not only can a criminal record prevent a parent from getting a job, it can also prevent the parent from getting a better job, or moving up economically. A criminal record can prevent a parent from getting an education, or participating in training programs that could lead to better job prospects in the future. Poor job prospects in turn impacts the family’s income potential, which also affects the family’s ability to save money or to spend money on things that could enrich a child’s life. When a family has difficulty obtaining income, it forces the family to make sacrifices and endure hardships.

Call Our Office for Help

A criminal record affects more than just you and your life, it can also have a significant impact on your family and your children. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing. Please contact us today for more information on how we can assist you throughout your case.

Source:

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/report/2015/12/10/126902/removing-barriers-to-opportunity-for-parents-with-criminal-records-and-their-children/

The Basics about Criminal Record Expungement in Illinois

October 19th, 2015 at 7:13 am

Illinois criminal statutes, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,A person’s criminal record is available to and viewable by the public and many people who have a criminal record in their history find that the existence of that criminal record causes a lot of problems. A criminal record might prevent someone from getting a job opportunity, or a scholarship. It can even cause a person problems if they are trying to get into professional school. For those individuals with a criminal record, there is the possibility that your criminal record can be expunged.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is a legal process for which eligible candidates can petition the court of their sentencing county, and, if successful, an expungement effectively erases past crimes, court supervisions, and certain probations from the individual’s criminal record. This means that your criminal record is cleared of any evidence of those particular convictions, supervisions, or probations. To think of this another way, expunged records are destroyed.

You can go through the expungement petitions process with or without an attorney, but many people find determining their eligibility to be difficult and the petition process to be taxing and complex. An experienced expungement attorney can help you quickly and effectively navigate the expungement process.

Eligibility

Under Section 5.2 of the Criminal Identification Act, 20 ILCS 2630/5.2, certain qualifying arrests, supervisions, and probations made in Illinois may be expunged. The only individuals who are eligible for expungement are those who have never been convicted of a felony criminal offense, a misdemeanor criminal offense, or a violation of a municipal ordinance – with an exception for some honorably discharged veterans who have been convicted of certain Class 3 and Class 4 felonies.

There may be a time limit that must pass before you can seek to have your record expunged. Typically, the wait is five years, but some court supervisions can be expunged from your record after just two years. Some juvenile records may also be eligible for expungement as well, but they are handled differently than adult criminal records.

All or Nothing

If you have multiple convictions in your criminal record, or only some of your past offenses are eligible for expungement, but not others, you may find yourself in a tough spot. Expungement is an “all or nothing” game – either your whole record is expunged in one shot, or none of it gets expunged at all.

After Expungement

If you have your criminal record expunged, as a general rule you are under no obligation to ever tell anyone about the expunged convictions, supervisions, or probations. However, there is a limited exception when it comes to apply to certain types of jobs, which requires the disclosure of any and all criminal history – including expunged records.

Upon a successful conclusion to your expungement proceedings, the court will destroy the records relating to your expunged record, and will remove your information from any and all indexes and public records. You will be provided the only copy of your record, which you should hold onto in a safe place.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you believe that your criminal record is eligible for expungement, please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847) 394-3200 to discuss your case.

 

Source:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=350&ChapterID=5

New Law to Aid in Criminal Offenders’ Employment

August 28th, 2014 at 9:50 am

It seems criminal justice and related reform is on the minds of many Illinois officials as of late. According to a recent news article, Governor Pat Quinn recently signed a new law into effect in the state of Illinois that is aimed at helping criminal offenders obtain employment. On July 19th, he signed the Best Candidate for the Job Act, which reflected his latest efforts addressing issues that many prior defendants run into long after their criminal cases have concluded.

The New Law

Governor Quinn said the legislation is meant to help ex-offenders obtain jobs with private employers, which is essential to them becoming more productive members within the community. The new law requires job applicants to be seen as qualified for a job and selected for an interview before a potential employer can run a criminal background check. This act comes about a year after a similar measure was passed, offering the same protections to those applying for state employment.

The news article reported Governor Quinn as stating that everyone should get a second chance when it comes to getting a job. Further, he touted the new law as ensuring that people in Illinois will get a fair chance at reaching their full potential, taking into account their skills and other qualifications, and not their past history. Additional benefits are expected to include reducing recidivism, fighting poverty, and preventing violence by helping people find work.

By requiring applicants to have an interview with a potential employer before their background is called into question, it gives them a better chance of not being labeled as a poor match for employment due solely to their criminal history. Helping this particular group of individuals to gain employment will go a long way in making them more responsible, and even giving them an opportunity to further their education. Overall, it will better the lives of a significant population, reaching not only defendants but their families, and will give them opportunities that may have previously been out of reach.

The new law will not apply to all jobs, as some require employers to exclude those with a criminal history from the pool of applicants. The legislation is expected to take effect on January 1st.

The Latest Effort

This new law is just one of multiple pieces of legislation that has been signed into effect recently regarding the state of criminal law in Illinois. Governor Quinn also signed a law to automatically clear the records of arrest for less serious non-violent matters involving juveniles. In addition, he also furthered a law that allows a broader range of felonies for which records may be sealed, and includes criteria for courts to consider when deciding to issue an expungement. Last year, other efforts were taken that included “ban the box” prohibitions, second chance probation options, and the streamlining of the criminal record sealing and expungement process.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal matter in Illinois, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

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.

“Ban the Box” Fight and Related Recidivism Risk

April 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am

ban the box, criminal history, job application, felony, felon, discrimination, Chicago criminal defense lawyerIn filling out numerous types of documents and applications required for everyday things, many of us have likely noticed questions related to prior felony convictions. It may not be applicable to everyone, but for those who have to indicate a prior conviction, it could mean they are denied a job or a home and, as a result, a new start. A recent article discussed the discrimination associated with those who have a criminal record, as well as a campaign started by a prisoners’ rights organization aimed at removing the question from public employee forms.

Ban the Box

Ten years ago, the organization All of Us or None began the “Ban the Box” campaign, which 10 states and dozens of local jurisdictions have joined, in an effort to get any questions about prior felony convictions removed from public employee forms. They have had some success recently, which has propelled a movement at the national level to improve hiring opportunities for mostly non-violent criminal offenders.

States and Local Jurisdictions are Responding

In San Francisco, the mayor signed the Fair Chance Ordinance into law, which not only addressed the question appearing on public employee forms, but also on paperwork related to affordable housing and private employers with more than 20 employees. The idea is that punishing someone twice for the same past mistake is not a worthwhile goal.

The state of Illinois has implemented similar state laws regarding the removal of conviction history questions on public employment applications, and Chicago is among the jurisdictions mentioned above that have implemented ban the box policies.

Limits of Ban the Box

Although many states and jurisdictions may be taking actions in preventing initial disclosure of criminal history to avoid employers automatically disqualifying prior convicts for a given position, it will not prevent the information from being shared at all. Rather, many laws (like the one passed in California last year) will specify that the job applicant does not have to disclose criminal convictions until after a potential employer determines that the applicant otherwise meets the minimum qualifications required for the job.

Some States Hesitant to Follow Suit

While some jurisdictions in the south have implemented ban the box, no southern states have taken the step to pass or propose such a law going into effect. In order for the movement as a whole to be successful, the idea needs to be implemented in different places across the country, and also needs to include private employment practices, housing, and loan applications. The overarching theme of the movement is not only equal treatment, but also a shift in society’s thinking so that all people can hope for a better life.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There have been numerous issues involving criminal justice and improvements to the system in the United States that have developed lately. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you not only in protecting your rights in court, but in giving you the best chance of improving your life going forward. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation if you have been charged with a crime in Chicago or the surrounding area.

Expungement in Illinois

February 19th, 2014 at 12:05 pm

expungement IMAGEMany people have likely made a poor decision or two at one point in their life. Unfortunately for some, these mistakes may have legal consequences. The good news is that in the state of Illinois, those charged with certain crimes may be able to get the charges expunged from their criminal records. As echoed in an article by World News Report, individuals in Illinois can obtain an expungement in order to avoid facing the consequences of their poor judgment for the rest of their lives.

What is an Expungement?

An expungement means that a person’s records will be sealed from public access, which means that these records will only be available to view with an order form the court.

The article further explains that in Illinois specifically, an expungement means that the records will be physically destroyed or returned to the person seeking the expungement. Further, the person’s name will be removed from any public record or index in which it may have appeared in connection with the associated charges.

Why Obtain an Expungement?

Petitioning the court for an expungement of a prior arrest or conviction is almost always advisable for those who qualify for one. Having a criminal record can affect a person’s ability to get a job, obtain a lease, or purchase a home, even if the offense occurred decades ago.

If the crime appears when an employer conducts a background check or on a landlord’s rental application, the person may be denied a job or a lease because of the conviction or arrest.

However, if that person obtained an expungement, the criminal activity would not be accessible by members of the public.

Not all Crimes are Eligible for Expungement

According to the law in the state of Illinois, certain criminal offenses cannot be expunged or sealed from public access. They include, among others:

  • Sex crimes involving minors;
  • Minor traffic offenses;
  • Certain crimes graded as felonies.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Illinois and you have questions about your eligibility for an expungement, it is advisable to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney about your situation. An attorney can discuss the specific facts of your case with you and determine if your case is able to be expunged or sealed from public view.

If you are eligible for an expungement, a criminal defense attorney can help you file a proper petition with the appropriate court. Contact us today to discuss your case and let us evaluate whether you can benefit from an expungement.

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