Articles Tagged with Chicago expungement lawyer

jufcqxgcxwa-samuel-zeller-300x200The enactment of freedom of information laws means that the public is a lot more aware of its rights in terms of accessing vital information about the community. This becomes even more critical when the information relates to personal issues such as criminal history. Individuals may request for this information for a number of reasons including application for a job, travel documents, and also as part of a court process. There are certain offenses such as sexual assault that lead to lifetime registrations, which are sometimes opened up to the public. Bureaucratic bottlenecks have sometimes been criticized for making it difficult for individuals to secure access to their rap sheet (otherwise known as a criminal record). However the Police Department Informational Guide sets out a basic framework.

Important Steps When Requesting Access

It is critical to identify the public agencies that you were involved in during or after the arrest. These will typically include the law enforcement agency, the clerk of the court, and the Illinois State Police. The Bureau of Identification of the ISP is ultimately responsible for maintaining and sharing information. At the federal level, the FBI maintains a master database that is accessible in exceptional circumstances. It is important to note that FBI request must be in writing and should indicate why the applicant is entitled to a copy of his or her arrest record. If it is a freedom of information act request, then some background information may be necessary. Ensure that your name and address are included. It is also imperative to send important identification details such as the date and place of birth as well as the applicant’s fingerprints.

800px-Kneaded_eraser-300x199For many offenders, the sentence handed down by the court is only the beginning of their punishment. In some ways a criminal record as mandated by the Criminal Identification Act is a much more difficult condition to deal with because it is permanent and insidious. Most people will make judgements about the capabilities and proclivities of an individual based on their criminal record. The people making these judgements are not party to the original case or any of the mitigating circumstances that could explain the person’s behavior at the time. More importantly, the criminal record leaves no room for real rehabilitation. All it does is to ensure that convicted people are forever consigned to the shadowy world of illicit activities. There have been many critiques of the criminal records system over the years including its role in increasing recidivism. However public opinion at the moment is ambivalent about the possibility of expunging records.

A Redemptive Scheme in Chicago

Chicago is one of the states that is exploring new ways of rehabilitating offenders. This is done through the process of sealing or expunging a criminal record for certain offenses, offenders, and circumstances. It is never a clean break because if the media has reported the case then all that is required is a Google search to get everything back up again. Many employers and potential spouses increasingly do those Google searches so either way the individual is stuck with their record unless they change name by deed poll. It is only the most experienced attorneys that are able to successfully get rid of a criminal record. Unfortunately most defendants are so traumatized by the criminal justice process that they end up giving up on any future hopes of redemption. They simply let the record lie as it is stated and resign themselves to a life on state benefits.

Chicago’s “Ban the Box” law, which prohibits certain employers from requesting criminal background information on job applications goes into effect January 1. However, this information can be requested – and must be provided – once the applicant is invited for an interview, or when a conditional offer of employment is made. Employers may also conduct criminal background checks at this time. The only way to completely avoid having to disclose your criminal history, or to keep it from turning up during a criminal background check, is to have the records expunged or sealed.


Getting a Chicago Misdemeanor Expunged

The “ban the box” law is an important tool that will help qualified applicants who happen to have arrests or convictions in their past proceed to the interview stage. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough to help those with a criminal background get a fresh start. Under the law employers are not prohibited from refusing to hire an applicant based on his criminal background – it simply prohibits them from asking on the job application. Employers are free to not hire someone with a criminal history once they learn about it, either because the applicant disclosed it during the interview stage or because it turned up during a criminal background check. And the general public harbors a great deal of prejudice against those with a criminal background, even though the individual paid his debt to society by fulfilling the terms of his sentence.

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