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Arrested for retail theft, but NOT convicted.

Chicago, IL |

I had a court date today, my lawyer told me that I am not convicted (and if asked on an application if I have ever been convicted, my answer is no), I have 1 year of supervision starting today and 30 hours of community service. I am unsure of the status quo because my lawyer said I have a misdemeanor on my record, but not convicted. He also stated I can get it expunged in 7 years. What does this really mean: to have something on my record but no conviction? I am 42 years old, and this is my first ever quandary with the law. Should I report anything to my current workplace? Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!

Many thanks and regards,

EDIT: Mr. Goldberg- Thank you for your prompt reply. I apologize: let me be more specific. When arrested, I was fingerprinted and told not to enter the retail store again. The retail store also requested that I pay ~$500 (I am unsure if this was a civil demand), however, my lawyer advised me not to pay this fee. As much as I would like an expungement, this seems too far into the future, as apparently I qualify after 7 years. For now, I want to deal with the circumstance as is. After referring to my employee handbook, it only states to report any convictions (does not mention arrests or criminal dispositions). I apologize for my lack of knowledge, but am I considered a criminal if not convicted? Thanks for everything.

Attorney Answers 3


The answer to your questions depends on what type of job you hold, and whether your employer requires you to notify it of any arrest and/or conviction or court disposition. Ordinarily an employee handbook would remind you of your obligations, or upon hiring, you may have signed a document that requires you to provide this information. Without knowing more it is difficult to answer your question. Moreover, most licensed professions require you to notify the licensing entity upon arrest, and certainly disposition of a criminal case. Assuming you do not violate any other laws, satisfy the conditions of your supervision, including payment of fines, fees, and costs, and complete your community service, you would qualify for an expungement of this case as your attorney advised.

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If you were given a 1 year supervision sentence, you will have to wait 5 years (6 years total from date of plea) to file a petition to expunge. The 7 year number is incorrect.

The expungement will cover the listing of the arrest on your record. Supervision is NOT a conviction. The State can keep the history of your arrest until you file that petition.

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The five year wait is for expungement and exists because a second charge of retail theft in five years can sometimes be made a felony.

After three years (from the finish of your supervision you can move to seal the arrest records. This allows the government to see them but takes them out of public view.

John Yetter

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