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How Long Will Your DUIs Follow You? Ask Politician Michael Carbone

Fair or not, Lake County Board candidate Michael Carbone is facing an unusually high level of scrutiny while running for a local political office. The man formerly known as Michael Jorudd apparently has a criminal record under his former name that is just now coming to light, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Truth be told, it all seems to be much ado about nothing. Readers see headlines about name changes and “criminal pasts” and it drives clicks and readership. We’re doing it right now. But Carbone has reasonable explanations for his past.

Let's start with the name change, since it really should not be an issue. His birth name was Askeland Carbone, which was later changed to his stepfather's name. He changed it back in order to pay tribute to his grandfather in 2009. It's a kind gesture that should not be an issue in the election.

What might be an issue is the three misdemeanor offenses on his criminal record. He has two DUI arrests, one in 1993 and one in 2006. Both appear to have been dealt with in plea bargains, as he received court supervision on the first offense and pled guilty to reckless driving on the second offense.

He also had an arrest for trespass and assault in 2003 after getting into an argument at a bar and refusing to leave. The assault charges were later dropped.

It has been six years since his second DUI and nineteen since his first, yet the two mistakes are still following him. They might even impact the decision of some voters.

For the average citizen, they will never run for office or be subjected to such intense scrutiny over name changes and past mistakes. However, pre-employment background checks and other similar facts of life mean that even the smallest mistakes should be dealt with.

One way of doing so is to seek expungement of one's record. The process usually involves the filing of a simple form after probation and all other terms of the sentence (such as fines and community service) are complete. This will "expunge" the offense from your record.

But wait, there is a small problem. Unlike most states, Illinois will not allow those convicted of a DUI to expunge the offense. Those who pled to reckless driving could have had the offense expunged before the law was revised in 2010, but alas, no longer. DUI arrests that resulted in a "not guilty" verdict or were dismissed by the court also be removed from one's record, as can most other misdemeanors.

Thanks to the Internet, that's no guarantee that expungement will permanently delete all traces of the arrest, but it will at least not appear on routine background checks and it will allow you to answer "no" on applications that ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime.

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