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Understanding the Illinois Expungement Statute

Illinois Expungement Statute

Your criminal record can work against you and hold you back. This may block opportunities for getting jobs, housing, and education. To tackle this issue, the state of Illinois has implemented expungement statutes to help individuals clear their records in some cases.

Expungement is a legal procedure where certain eligible criminal records are erased or removed from public view. This enables individuals to clear their records of arrests or charges and helps them obtain a fresh start and improved employment opportunities.

Navigating the Illinois expungement laws can be overwhelming. But don’t worry; lawyers from the Hirsch Law Group are here to help you understand the laws. We can also assist you in navigating the process of criminal defense and expunging your criminal record. Let’s learn more about Illinois expungement laws so you can take control of your future.

Overview of Illinois Expungement Statute

The Illinois expungement statute provides a comprehensive framework for the expungement process. It also outlines the eligibility criteria to be satisfied by the petitioner. Under this law, individuals may be eligible for expungement if the following occurs:

  • The charges were dismissed without conviction

  • The conviction was reversed or vacated

  • Court supervision or probation was completed without incident (subject to the prescribed timelines)

  • Receipt of pardon from the Governor

Eligibility Criteria for Expungement

Not everyone is eligible to apply for an expungement in Illinois. For a person to qualify for expungement, one cannot have the following:

  • Any pending criminal charges

  • Active parole/probation/court supervision

  • Any qualifying probations and eligible court supervisions where the offense’s waiting period has yet to pass. 

Offenses Eligible for Expungement

You may be able to have the following arrests, charges, or sentences removed from your criminal record:

  • The arrest for a felony or misdemeanor that did not lead to any convictions.

  • If you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, the records can be expunged if the conviction is vacated or reversed later.

  • The Governor pardoned you, allowing the expungement of all convictions on your record.

  • Sentences of qualified probation if five years have elapsed since you successfully completed your order of qualified probation.

  • If five years have passed since the successful completion of a sentence for court supervision for charges such as domestic battery, aggravated criminal sexual abuse (where the victim is older than 18), operation of uninsured vehicles, or display of false insurance card.

  • If you received a sentence for court supervision for an offense not listed above and at least two years have passed since its completion.

  • A Class 4 marijuana conviction or eligible misdemeanor under the Illinois Cannabis Control Act and Tax Act, 410 ILCS 705. You might qualify for a motion to vacate or fall within the automatic expungement process for the cannabis conviction. Consider contacting the Hirsch Law Group if you need help to expunge a drug conviction.

Offenses Ineligible for Expungement

It’s important to note that not all offenses can be cleared under this law. The criminal record for some crimes is permanent. These include:

  • Minor traffic offenses unless released without being charged.

  • Prior felony conviction records or misdemeanor records unless vacated, reversed, or pardoned by the Governor.

  • Offenses for which qualified probation or court supervision was not successfully completed.

  • Court supervision orders for driving under the influence (DUI) or sexual offenses against individuals under 18 (including predatory criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual assault. These offenses may lead to registration as a sexual offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act)

Navigating the Process of Expungement in Illinois

Navigating the expungement process in Illinois can be daunting. Here are the four steps to follow for expunging your criminal records.

STEP 1: Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal History

You have the legal right to obtain your complete criminal history details from the Illinois State Police. You can get a “Statewide Criminal History Transcript” from the following three entities:

  • Illinois State Police (Department of State Police)

  • Circuit Clerk (The circuit court clerk shall help you obtain a copy of the criminal record if it isn’t available online.)

  • Chicago Police Department

STEP 2: Examine Your Criminal History and Choose Between Expungement/Sealing

To determine whether the entries on your criminal record are eligible for expungement (erasure) or sealing, examine each item in your criminal record and identify the following:

  • Date of arrest and the arresting law enforcement agency.

  • Charge: The specific offense for which you were either charged in court or arrested and subsequently released without charges.

  • Disposition: The final outcome of the case, such as a guilty or not guilty verdict.

  • Sentence: The penalty imposed upon you.

  • Date of completion of any imposed sentence.

STEP 3: Fill Out the Expungement Request

Fill out the form only after determining which part of your records are to be expunged. Give the court all the information they need. You will be required to fill out a variety of forms, including:

  • Request to Expunge & Impound and/or Seal Criminal Records

  • Additional Arrests or Cases for Expungement

  • Notice of Filing for Expungement and/or Sealing

  • Order to Expunge & Impound and/or Seal Criminal Records

STEP 4: Upcoming Steps for Expungement

Submit your expungement form to the circuit clerk located in the county where your arrest or charge occurred. In certain counties, you may be required to include copies of your court dispositions and the form.

Once filed, you may need to attend hearings or consultations with attorneys. This ensures the petition to expunge your criminal offense record is represented before a judge.

How Can a Lawyer Assist With an Illinois Expungement Statute Case?

If you want to clear your criminal record in Illinois, consider hiring a skilled lawyer to assist you with the expungement process.

Here’s how a criminal defense lawyer from the Hirsch Law Group can help you. We can:

  • Advise you on whether expungement is possible based on your specific case after obtaining information from the law enforcement agencies regarding your case. Our lawyers can then assess if an offense under a specific act, the Juvenile Court Act, for instance, is eligible for expungement.

  • Provide insight into what steps need to be taken next before facing the presiding trial judge.

  • Ensure all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and timely at the trial court. This is to prevent delays or rejections.

  • File a motion to vacate/modify or reconsider the expungement of your criminal record.

Contact the Hirsch Law Group Today!

Are you seeking assistance to vacate, modify, or seal your criminal record? In Illinois, expungement is complicated. Our lawyers at Hirsch Law Group can assist you in comprehending all the nuances of the law. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does it Take to Seal or Expunge a Criminal Record?

Expunging felony records in Illinois takes several months or up to a year, depending upon the complexity of a case.

After My Expungement Request Is Approved, How Long Does it Take for a Criminal Record to Disappear?

Once a judge approves your request to expunge or seal records, they shall be expunged by law enforcement agencies within about 60 days from the service of the order.