Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The court record is gone!

Recently, a commenter to an article mentioned that he hadn't been able to find a court record related to a lawsuit being settled that involved the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.

When I was at the courthouse this morning, I picked up a brochure entitled, "How to Clear Your Illinois Criminal Record." This helpful information is published by the Office of the State Appellate Defender.

Many "non-convictions" can be expunged or sealed; i.e., arrest records can be removed from court records. Any arrest record is easily searchable by prospective employers, admissions departments of college, universities and other schools, neighbors, friends, relatives; you name it.

A "non-conviction" will have a disposition such as acquittal, dismissal, supervision. SOL could be there; it doesn't mean what you think. SOL means stricken off with leave to reinstate. NP is nolle prosequi. FNPC is Finding of No Probable Cause.

Even some felony convictions might be eligible for court sealing of records after four years after a sentence is completed.

Most DUIs, convictions for violent offenses, most sex offenses and nearly all felonies cannot be expunged or sealed.

For information, visit Telephone, fax and mailing addresses for Chicago and Springfield offices will be found on the website.

If a record doesn't qualify to be expunged or sealed, a person might still be eligible for consideration for clemency. Contact the Prisoner Review Board at 217.782.7273 or visit

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