In the state of Illinois, qualifying individuals can seek to lessen the consequences and hardships of any past criminal convictions through expunging or sealing their records. Expungement in Illinois (also called expunction) is the destruction and purging of a criminal arrest record by the Court clerk, the arresting police department and the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification. Sealing a criminal record means that the record is order to be sealed by the court. The record of arrest and disposition is confidential and can only be viewed for limited sentencing, bond and law enforcement purposes, and it cannot be released to employers or the public under penalties of law.
Clearing your criminal record is important in many ways. Applying for a job, loan, or housing without a reportable criminal background is a fresh start, free from the mistakes of your past. If interested in sealing or expunging your record, contact our office for review by a knowledgable Illinois expungement lawyer from our team at your earliest convenience. We have helped thousands successfully expunge cases from their Illinois criminal record and may be able to assist you as well.
Who is eligible?
Please read the following carefully to initially determine your eligibility to expunge or seal. If you believe you qualify, contact us for a more thorough evaluation.
- If you were placed on court supervision for an Illinois criminal misdemeanor violation (other than DUI), and have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions, you are likely eligible to expunge
- Most criminal sentences require a two year wait after termination of supervision expunge a supervision from Illinois criminal records, including cases such as misdemeanor retail theft, battery or possession of cannabis
- Some criminal charges require a five year wait after supervision for expungement from Illinois criminal records
- If you were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed (nolle prosequi or "SOL"), or you were found not guilty, you may be eligible to expunge the records of your arrest much sooner, and sometimes almost immediately, if you have no other convictions on your record
- DUI conviction or supervision orders cannot be expunged, even after successful completion - only a dismissal or finding of not guilty can be expunged when the charge was DUI
- Most felony convictions are ineligible to be expunged from a criminal record unless the probation was under section 410 or 710 first offender probation for certain drug cases in which case you must wait 5 years after termination of the sentence before seeking expungement of the criminal record
- Certain misdemeanor convictions can now be sealed by a process similar to expungement, which closes the record from public viewing unless the Court specifically orders the record opened, or upon arrest for the same or similar offense or a felony. Some convictions like Assault, Battery or Domestic Battery are ineligible
- Certain Felony Drug Possession convictions for smaller amounts and Felony Prostitution convictions are eligible for sealing under certain circumstances
- Unlike expungement, a prior conviction does not necessarily preclude sealing a more recent conviction or supervision
When you contact us regarding expungement or sealing we recommend you have the following information available for any and all arrests, not just the charges you wish to seal or expunge:
- The case number, county and courthouse or branch court number
- The charges you were found guilty of as well as the original charges (if found not guilty or case dismissed, say so)
- The sentence (supervision, conditional discharge, probation, etc.)
- The date the sentence was terminated
- The name of the arresting police department
- Any and all other criminal arrests, including those that resulted in conviction, supervision or dismissal
Although our office is located in Cook County, we generally handle petitions to seal or expunge in Lake county and DuPage county courts as well.
Call and speak with our friendly and knowledgable in-office staff who are trained to take detailed information they know will help our attorneys analyze your case. All information you share regarding pending cases is confidential and not shared with any outside party. We do not share client or prospective client contact information with anyone for any reason unless it is for the express purpose of representation in your case. Your privacy and dignity are of paramount importance to our law firm. Call 847-635-8200 now for help from one of the Chicago areas most proficient expungement and sealing law firms.
1. Supervision is not a conviction under Illinois. Though a finding of guilty was entered, no judgment of conviction is entered on the finding. To determine whether you were placed on supervision, examine your court sentence documents or contact the clerk of court where you were sentenced.
2. Convictions are judgments entered upon findings of guilty by the court, unlike supervision orders, which are not convictions by operation of law.