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New Illinois Law Allows Immediate Sealing After No Conviction

 Posted on December 20, 2017 in Criminal Law

New Illinois Law Allows Immediate Sealing After No ConvictionCriminal charges brought against you that are acquitted or dismissed can still hurt your reputation by showing up on your record when someone does a background check. You can prevent such embarrassment by requesting that the public record of your arrest and charges be sealed. The only entities that would be allowed to see the sealed records without a court order would be:

  • Law enforcement;
  • The Department of Child and Family Services; and
  • Employers that are required by law to conduct background checks for felony convictions.

Sealing your record is a legal process that requires court approval and the opportunity for the state to respond. A recently enacted Illinois law allows defendants whose cases end without a conviction to immediately request the record of the charges be sealed.

Immediate Sealing

The bill revised Illinois’ Criminal Identification Act so that a defendant can file for immediate sealing during the same hearing that he or she was acquitted or the charges were dismissed with prejudice. The law applies to all charges, except for minor traffic offenses. The court would be required to come to a decision during the same hearing, and prosecutors would not be allowed to object to the motion. Factors that the court is likely to consider when making the decision are:

  • The severity of the charges;
  • Your past criminal record;
  • What damage allowing the record to remain public could cause you; and
  • Whether the public needs to know about the charges.


Illinois law already allowed defendants who did not receive a conviction to petition to seal their records at any time. Offering an immediate petition and decision helps defendants in a couple of ways:

  • Filing the request at a later date may be more costly to the defendant. He or she may need to return to court for the decision, requiring additional court and attorney fees; and
  • When a court approves sealing a record, there is a 60-day waiting period before it is enacted. The state's attorney and state police are given that long to file an appeal. Immediate sealing means that the waiting period will start the same day that the case ends.

Clearing Your Name

If you were not convicted of the criminal charges brought against you, you must finish the process of protecting your reputation by sealing or expunging your record. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney with Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, can prepare you to immediately request your records be sealed and defend you against any objections. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-260-9647.


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