Thank you for your question.
Since conditional discharge is actually a form of probation, and therefore a form of criminal conviction. the conviction cannot be "lifted" or expunged, but you might be able to have the record sealed. In order to seal your arrest, you must have successfully completed your sentence at least 4 to 5 years ago (depending on the charge), AND have not been placed on supervision or convicted of another crime since then AND not have any charges pending against you right now.
Sealing a record closes it to the public, unlike an expungement, where the entire record itself is destroyed. Here, the record still exists, but is hidden. The public cannot see it, or even be told that a record exists. This should help with most employers, because you can deny the conviction, though some jobs, like those that require professional licenses, will typically still have access to the records. Therefore, you may want to write "convicted, record sealed" on an application to avoid a situation where an employer could find the records.
The laws on sealing and expunging records in Illinois are complicated, and the forms and procedures used actually vary from county to county. Therefore, you would be wise to consult with a local criminal defense experienced in this area of law. Typically, attorneys with 1-5 years experience offer lower fees. You should also be able to get a low cost or free intitial consultation.
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