Criminal record and handcuffsThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing defending against bad check charges in Peoria, Illinois. My previous post discussed the possibility of resolving such a charge through a county’s Check Enforcement Program, where available. Many counties offer this type of program as an alternative to prosecution for first-time offenders, giving eligible individuals the opportunity to pay restitution to the victim and avoid a criminal conviction. It is important to comply with all applicable program requirements to take advantage of this benefit. In this article, I will address sealing or expunging a criminal record after being charged with deceptive practices for passing bad checks. If you need assistance, contact my office today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

I have previously written about Illinois’ process for sealing or expunging one’s criminal record. The same concepts apply when one is charged, arrested, or convicted for passing bad checks. When a record is expunged, information about the arrest, charge, or conviction is erased from the individual’s record, which makes it as if the incident never occurred. Sealing a record, on the other hand, does not erase the record but makes it more difficult for the information to be identifiable on a routine background check. Sealing a record also reduces the instances in which you must disclose your criminal history when applying for jobs. Whether and when you are able to expunge or seal your record depends on several factors. If you were not convicted of the charge, whether because you were acquitted, the case was dismissed by the Court, the prosecutor did not file charges, or you successfully completed probation, you may be able to have your record expunged to remove the charge and arrest. For those who are not eligible to seek expungement, it may still be possible to seal or hide criminal records from the public view. If successful, either process can be extremely beneficial for the seeker.

Being charged, arrested, or convicted for violations of Illinois’ deceptive practice statute can negatively impact a person’s life long after their criminal punishment has been served. For instance, Individuals with criminal records may find it difficult to find or retain housing or employment, obtain or maintain professional licenses, volunteer, or borrow money. For these reasons, individuals who are eligible to expunge or seal their criminal records are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. A large portion of bad check charges are dismissed or not prosecuted because the individual completed a Check Enforcement Program. In such cases, individuals may be able to seek immediate expungement of the charge from their record, therefore removing that history from their background check. Cases that are prosecuted and lead to convictions may also be eligible for expungement or sealing. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help review your history and advise you through the process.

If you have a criminal record for passing bad checks and need assistance with expungement or sealing your history, contact my office to speak with a Peoria lawyer. We also serve clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington and the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford. Additional areas where we handle federal cases include Benton, Chicago, East St. Louis, Springfield, and Urbana.