How To Get An Expungement In Illinois

When you are arrested and/or charged with a crime in Illinois, a criminal record is created, even if you are not found guilty. Your criminal records can be read by the public, your friends, your family, banks, employers, trade organizations, and credit agencies. If you want to have your record hidden or erased, you must file a request with the court and have a judge approve it.  One of the ways a criminal record can be erased is “expungement.”  In some cases, when expungement isn’t possible, a criminal record can be hidden by having it “sealed.”

If you have been arrested in the past and are trying to make a fresh start, you may be wondering how to get an expungement in Illinois.There are several steps to take, and experienced criminal defense lawyers can guide you through the legal process and help you file the necessary paperwork. The skilled attorneys at Wolfe & Stec have helped countless clients just like you who want to wipe the slate clean and move forward into a brighter future. We know the ins and outs of the criminal judicial system, and we can help you efficiently apply for and secure an expungement if you qualify.  To learn more about how to get an expungement in Illinois, call us at 630-305-0222.

Are there criteria on how to get an expungement in Illinois?

The State of Illinois provides detailed information and explanations about the expungement process and how it might apply to you.  There are certain arrests and convictions that CAN be expunged, and there are other arrests and convictions that CANNOT be expunged.

On its state form Getting Started: Request to Expunge & Impound and/or Seal Criminal Records, Illinois defines expungement this way:

To erase arrests, court supervisions, and some types of probation from your criminal record so it is like they never happened. To hide certain criminal convictions from public view.

For the purposes of expungement, a conviction is a finding of guilt that results in a sentence such as the following:

  • Jail/prison time
  • Probation
  • Time considered served
  • Conditional discharge
  • Fines
  • Supervisions or qualified probations that are not completed.

Some of the offenses on a criminal record that can be expunged include:

  • Arrests for misdemeanors and felonies that did not result in a conviction
  • Sentences for supervision if the waiting period has passed
  • Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies only if they were reversed, vacated or pardoned
  • Sentences of qualified probation if 5 years have passed.

Some of the offenses on a criminal record that cannot be expunged include:

  • Any federal conviction or conviction outside of Illinois
  • Minor traffic offenses (unless you were released without being charged)
  • Court supervision for reckless driving at age 25 or older
  • Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies (unless they were reversed, vacated, pardoned or approved by the Prison Review Board)
  • Court supervision or qualified probation that was not completed
  • Court supervision for DUI
  • Any sentences you have not yet completed, including parole, probation or court supervision
  • Court supervision for sexual offenses against minors.

Some offenses that can be “sealed” or hidden in Illinois include:

  • Minor traffic violations if you were released without being charged with a crime
  • Felony traffic violations that were reduced to a misdemeanor
  • Arrests and charges for misdemeanors and felonies that did not lead to a conviction
  • Convictions for most misdemeanors and felonies can be sealed 3 years after the end of the sentence. There are some exceptions.

Whether you want to get a misdemeanor expungement, have a criminal record sealed, or find other legal ways to reduce the impact of a criminal record, a skilled and experienced criminal attorney will provide you valuable information about how to get the process started.

Can an attorney guide me on how to get an expungement of my record?

Yes.  A skilled criminal attorney at Wolfe & Stec has years of experience in helping clients secure expungements. We can do the same for you. For a free initial consultation about your specific case, call us at 630-305-0222.

There are actually three ways in Illinois to clear or hide your criminal record, though expungement is certainly the most common way.  These include:

  • Expungement: (erased) This erases arrests and court supervisions from your criminal record. It is like the arrests never happened.
  • Sealing: (hidden) This hides your criminal record from most of the public. Law enforcement organizations can still see sealed records. Employers required by law to conduct background checks can see sealed felony convictions. Employers cannot see sealed misdemeanor convictions or cases not resulting in convictions unless the employer is a law enforcement agency.
  • Executive Clemency: This is, by far, the least common way to clear a criminal record. If you do not qualify for expungement or sealing, you can apply for a pardon from the Governor forgiving you for your criminal convictions. A pardon does not erase or hide your conviction on its own. If you get a pardon authorizing expungement, you can then apply to have your record expunged.

Expungement is the place to start.  If you’re asking yourself how to get an expungement of your record, then call at attorney at Wolfe & Stec today.  After that, gather any documents you may have about your arrest(s) and we’ll get to work.

Contact an expungement attorney today

We all make mistakes when we’re younger, and there comes a time when a person wants to make a fresh start.  An expungement can be a way to wipe the slate clean and erase a criminal record.  Or having your record sealed can be another way to hide a criminal record from public view.  Our country believes in second chances and there are legal methods that can keep employers, banks, family members, friends, credit agencies and professional organizations from finding out about previous arrests and run-ins with the law.

If you’re ready to turn over a new leaf and wipe away your criminal past, the first step is to get an honest legal opinion about your record and then devise a plan about how to pursue expungement.  For a free initial consultation, contact a lawyer at Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222.  We’re here to help.