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RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 11986
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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hello Due to being tight on money (paying bills, lab job had

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Due to being tight on money (paying bills, lab job had to stop paying me for a few months due to not receiving grant money), I made the poor decision to steal a textbook from the campus bookstore. What amplifies this problem is that I am currently in the process of applying to medical school, and this incoming misdemeanor would pretty much kill any chance I would have at attending any school, as they have background checks before matriculation. Of course, I have learned from my lack of judgement, and will never do something like this that will jeapordize my future and the people important to me again. My main concern is whether or not I can get this off my record (I live in Illinois).

Thank you for your question this evening.

The answer is it depends on what the outcome of the case is (it sounds like this is a recent occurance, but if I am wrong in my assumption, please let me know).

In Illinois, you are eligible to expunge most non-traffic misdemeanor offenses from your criminal record, as long as you do not have any convictions.

If you are placed on court supervision, receive a deferred prosecution, first offender probation, or your case is dismissed, or you are found not guilty at trial, you may be eligible to have your criminal arrest record expunged.

If you are placed on probation, conditional discharge, receive a Judgment of Conviction, or are sentenced to the Illinois Department of Corrections for any criminal offense (not likely for something so minor), you are generally not eligible to have your criminal record expunged.

Even if you are not eligible to have your records expunged, you may still be eligible to have your record sealed. If your record is sealed, only a court order can unseal the record.

If this is a first offense, what I would expect is if you are found guilty, that you will receive a sentence of "supervision." Court supervision is, essentially, a deferment by the court of entry of a judgment of conviction. That means on a job application, if you successfully complete the terms of supervision, if asked if you have a conviction, you can say "no." And, as previously noted above, supervision, because it is not a conviction is eligible for expungement.

Please note --under current Illinois law, an expungement cannot be filed until 5 years after disposition of your case. So, for example, if your sentence is 1 year of supervision, you would not be able to seek an expungement until 6 years has passed.

Also, your medical school background check will likely require you (if it's anything like the character and fitness check that prospective lawyers go through) to reveal any and all criminal offenses -even those that were sealed or expunged.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the detailed response. If you may allow the follow up -

No matter what, this charge will be on my file? Is there any way for this to not be on record? I am asking just to weigh the outcomes so I can mentally and physically prepare myself.


If you've been arrested and/or charged, there is already a paper trail, yes. So, even if the matter were to be dismissed with no charges filed, or the state were to file and then later decide not to prosecute you, for example, that record of the charge/arrest still exists, so you would still want to expunge it.

Now, most job applications only ask about "convictions" -not simply arrests, but chances are to get a medical license, they are going to want to know about any criminal offenses greater than minor traffic violations and their outcome.
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