The Reset Button: FindLaw's Guide to Expungement - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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The Reset Button: FindLaw's Guide to Expungement

What is the dumbest thing you've done lately? Perhaps you really needed that copy of Justin Bieber's Believe album before payday. Or perhaps, you and your father decided to take LSD, sip on a few beers, and then take the motorcycles out for a ride.

"Have you ever been convicted of a crime? If so, please provide details."

"Yes. I took LSD and crashed my motorcycle."

For some crimes, there just is no good way to phrase it. Instead, what about hitting the reset button?

Expungement can rewind your world to a time where your criminal record didn't list drug-fueled motorcycle flips or shoplifting a tween's masterpiece. We've all done dumb things.

The process of expungement might be able to cleanse that little indiscretion from your official record.

Clean record? Never say never.

Now, the expungement process isn't perfect. State and federal agencies might still have access to your expunged offense. Police departments, judges, and state licensing boards will still be able to find out about the incident.

Also, some crimes aren't expungeable. Most violent felonies and some sex crimes are, for good reason, kept on the offender's record.

Though it's not a completely clean slate, expungement is worth looking in to if you have a minor offense on your record. The process, which in most cases is incredibly simple, will leave you with the peace of mind of a nearly clean record.

It also means you'll almost never have to discuss your Bieber Fever with a potential employer.

If you need more information on the expungement process, FindLaw has released a handy guide to help you along the way. The guide has introductory information on expungement basics, eligibility, and procedures.

After you're done, check out the Illinois Legal Aid Society's state-specific take on the matter. The two sources should help you decide if the process is worth pursuing.

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