We have all of the answers regarding expunging or sealing a record in Illinois. Our expert attorneys have compiled all of the questions that we get asked most frequently onto one page. If your question is about eligibility for record expungement or sealing then you can take our free online eligibility test to quickly and easily find out the answer. If you are ready to clear your record, please visit our Illinois record expungement or record sealing pages. If your question wasn't answered in the FAQ, just ask it in the comments below and one of our attorneys will answer it for you!
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The court can consider: (1) the strength of the evidence supporting the conviction, (2) the reasons that the State wants to keep the records public, (3) the petitioner's age, criminal history and employment history, (4) the period of time been the arrest and filing of the petition for expungement, and (5) the consequences that the petitioner will face if it is not expunged. (20 ILCS 2630/5.2(d)(7)).
If you pled guilty or no contest, then you are considered convicted of the charge.
We can help obtain the records and evaluate what you are eligible for under Illinois law to clear that record. The small fee for this research would then apply to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform at the conclusion of the case research.
If you have multiple cases that are eligible to be sealed or expunged, we charge per case because sealings and expungements must be filed separately for each case number. If you sign up for multiple cases, then we may discount the additional cases.
You must file the petition in each jurisdiction.
If you were arrested prior to being 17 years of age, then you must file as a juvenile case.
Unfortunately, the only time you can reduce your felony charge is before you plea or are convicted. Therefore, if you are already convicted of the crime, then you cannot reduce your felony to a misdemeanor.
Cases can be denied on the basis of: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file or the application, (2) the court does not believe an expungement will be in the interest of society, (3) a probation violation, or (4) court ordered fines and fees were not paid.
Please take the eligibility test to determine which service(s) you are eligible for in Illinois.
We do not handle federal cases at this time. Only a limited number of federal cases can be expunged, please contact a licensed attorney that handles federal cases.
Typically you will not have to appear in court; we will go to court for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to attend, then we will request that your presence be excused.
We handle the file filing and representation for you but if we need you to assist with anything or supply any information then we will inform you.
If you are expunging felony records of a qualified probation or if you are sealing a felony drug offense, then you may have to pass a drug test that is taken thirty days prior to filing the petition. (20 ILCS 2630(d)(3))
Typically, a record sealing or expungement in Illinois takes approximately four to five months on average. We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the State is agreeing or objecting, how busy the court is at that time, the age of the case, availability of records, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and State’s Attorney in anything they need to get your case heard and decided.
Cook County Courts are very backlogged and are currently taking 6-8 months on average to process a case once received. It may take even longer if a hearing is required due to an objection by State's Attorney Office. Unfortunately, petitioners can expect the process to take as along as 12 months or more in Cook County
The courts work on sealings and expungements in the order in which they are received. Also, the Prosecutor has sixty days to object after the petition is filed. After those sixty days pass, then the Judge will make a decision or order a hearing. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know that we have reopened your case and are in the process of having it dismissed.
After the judge grants your case, you will receive the order sealing or expunging your case. Criminal record agencies and databases will be notified that they must update their records to reflect that your conviction was sealed or expunged.
We will evaluate why it was denied and let you know what your options are in terms of refiling immediately with additional information or waiting longer before refiling. If refiling is not the best option, we offer a money-back guarantee for most services.
When a case is expunged, the record of that case is treated as though the crime never occurred. The law enforcement agencies and courts expunge and destroy the records.
When a record is sealed, the record becomes unavailable to the public and most government entities without a court order. However, persons involved in civil litigation (suing or being sued) may petition to unseal criminal records for the purpose of using them in the litigation. Furthermore, the Illinois Department of Corrections has access to all sealed records upon any new conviction.
When a record is expunged, the record is destroyed. However, when a record is sealed the record is not destroyed, but is labeled as sealed and is still viewable by law enforcement agencies.
Yes, an expunged case can still be used for sentencing purposes in later criminal cases for the same or similar offense or for the purpose of sentencing a subsequent felony. In addition to being used for sentencing purposes, a sealed case can be viewed and used by the court, law enforcement agencies, state attorneys, and prosecutors in order to carry out the duties of their office.
-Peace Officers in IL
-Peace Officers in other states or territories
-Peace Officers of insular possessions of U.S.
-Certain authorized foreign countries
-Commanding Officers of Certain Military Installations
-Investigators of the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board
-Private organizations that are authorized by or work closely with aforementioned agencies to aid in the agency's duties by the Department of State Police Law (such as translators necessary for bilingual peace officers, commanding officers, or government officials)
People who can view conviction information only:
An expungement or sealing will not relieve you of the requirement to register.
The Canadian government and the United States have an information sharing agreement, and the Canadian government has access to the same information the US government has on file. A sealing or expungement will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction.
Only people convicted of a felony lose their civil rights. However, upon release from imprisonment your right to vote is restored. You do not lose the right to serve on a jury when you are convicted of a crime, even if it is a felony.
Every person's situation is unique, so getting an analysis tailored to your specific facts is imperative. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case and if getting an expungement or sealing can help, we suggest contacting a qualified immigration attorney. Our immigration department can answer your questions, they can be reached at 714-617-8395.
No. The most common reasons to lose the right to own or possess a firearm in IL are: (1) being convicted of certain offenses or (2) being convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.
(1) Your right is lost if you are convicted of a felony, under the age of 21 and convicted of a misdemeanor other than a traffic offense, deemed a narcotic addict, been a patient in a mental hospital within the past 5 years, or intellectually disabled. Expungement will not restore your right but you may be able to file for the right to be restored. Please see the page of our website regarding restoration of firearm rights.
(2) There is also a lifetime federal ban (Lautenberg Amendment), which applies to those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. Expungement in IL does not lift the federal prohibition.
No. In fact, employers may not ask if you have had any criminal records sealed or expunged.
When a record is expunged the record is destroyed and removed from public record. A sealed record is unavailable without a court order. Therefore, your record will not appear on a background check of government records if you receive an expungement or a sealing.
You can deny a sealed or expunged case in response to any question for employment. In fact, employers may not ask applicants if they have had a record sealed or expunged.
The court will send the granted order to the State's Attorney or Prosecutor, the Department of State Police, the arresting agency, and the legal officer for the arresting agency. The agencies will then update their records and the criminal record databases will be updated to reflect that your conviction was sealed or expunged. The agencies have sixty days to do so.
The court updates their records within a few days and the criminal agencies have up to sixty days to update their records.
Unfortunately, sealing and expungement does not affect DMV records.
In Illinois, you may serve on a jury if you: (1) are an inhabitant of the county summoning you, (2) are over the age of eighteen, (3) free from all legal exception, or fair character, or approved integrity, of sound judgment, well-informed, able to understand the English language (in spoken, written, or sign-language form), and (4) a United States citizen.