Expunging/Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois

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Expunging/Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois

In many instances, you are able to request that your criminal records are expunged or sealed after a period of time after the offense occurred. There are differences between expunging and sealing.

Expunging vs. Sealing

Expungement occurs when your records of arrests and court supervisions are completely erased from the system. This process makes it as if these offenses never occurred. However, in certain situations, “Qualified Probations” are sealed by the State Police, but completely erased by the arresting agency. You are unable to expunge any record that resulted in a conviction.

Sealing prevents the general public from viewing your criminal record. Law enforcement is still able to view these sealed records, but employers required by law to conduct background checks cannot see sealed misdemeanor convictions. These employers are, however, able to see sealed felony convictions. Sealing keeps records “hidden,” but retains them in the system.

Additionally, if you do not qualify for expungement or sealing, a third option is seeking executive clemency from the Governor of the State. This forgives your criminal conviction and enables you to then apply to have your record expunged.

How Do I Get Started?

There is a “waiting period” that must pass before you are able to request expungement or sealing of your records. The length of this waiting period varies and depends on the types of convictions/arrests you are attempting to erase/hide. After this waiting period of 2-5 years, you may request expungement/sealing.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

If you are convicted of a felony after having another felony sealed, the court may order that the record of the original felony be unsealed.

Some records cannot be expunged, including:

  • Court supervision for reckless driving (if you were 25 years or older at the time of offense)
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Sexual Offenses Against a Minor Under the Age of 18

Some records cannot be sealed, including:

  • Minor Traffic Offenses
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Domestic Battery

If you are looking to have your criminal record expunged or sealed, an experienced defense attorney can help. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC so he can assist you in this process.