Bill may allow concealment of criminal history on college apps

Often, we will hear about the legal consequences that a person could face if they are convicted of a crime. The potential consequences of a criminal conviction make a strong criminal defense strategy necessary, no matter how seemingly minor the charges are.

Both misdemeanor and felony convictions can result in significant jail time, probation and fines. However, we often forget to talk about the life consequences that you may face in the months and years following your conviction. One of the most significant consequences may be having to disclose your criminal history on job applications and college applications, thereby making it much more difficult for you to better your future.

Illinois House Bill 217, sponsored by Rep. Mary Flowers, may give people with criminal histories a second chance. If passed, the bill would stop colleges from asking about applicants’ criminal history in their applications. Currently, if a hopeful student indicates that they have a felony conviction on their application, the school will investigate further and request additional information. Admissions officials will then typically look at how long ago the conviction occurred and other factors specific to that person’s case before making a final decision.

Police chiefs at a number of Illinois colleges are concerned that the new bill will put students at risk and make it more difficult to ensure the safety of college campuses. Statistics at a couple of Illinois colleges showed that very few students were denied admission after marking the box. On the other hand, supporters of the bill, including Flowers, believe that the people are less likely to apply due to the presence of the question alone.

The bill passed out of the Higher Education Committee, but a full vote in the House has yet to be scheduled. If passed, this bill can greatly affect Illinois residents with a criminal record. However, if you are currently facing criminal charges, it is in your best interest to do whatever you can to avoid a conviction on your record. Discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney in the area for legal advice.