The Chicago expungement process can take months, and if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need to do a lot of research. Many people choose to work with a Chicago expungement attorney because navigating through the court system alone can be pretty intimidating.
But how does it all work? What does your lawyer have to go through to wipe the slate clean so you can start fresh?
The Chicago Expungement Process Explained
Your lawyer will first ask you for any documentation you have from your arrest. He’ll make sure that you’re eligible for an expungement (and if you’re not, your lawyer may still be able to have them sealed).
Then the real work begins.
Your attorney will find out what agency arrested you, who prosecuted your case, and track down your state identification number, or SID number. Once he has all of the necessary information, he’ll begin filing the appropriate forms with the appropriate authorities. He’ll also notify the Illinois State Police that you want your record expunged (that’s required by law).
During the next part of the Chicago expungement process, the court may require you to come in for a hearing; if you need to appear in court, your lawyer will be there to represent you. The State’s Attorney is allowed to object, and if that happens, you have the right to a hearing in front of a judge (your lawyer will be there, as well).
If your judge approves your expungement, he or she will sign a legally binding order. From there, the Circuit Clerk will send certified copies to the agency that arrested you (and their Chief Legal Officer), the State’s Attorney, and the Illinois State Police. Your lawyer can do the follow-up to make sure everything has been handled properly.
Once you have an order from the judge, the Chicago expungement process is over – you’re free to move forward with a clean criminal record. Because it requires a few trips to the courthouse, filing paperwork with multiple agencies and a significant amount of time to get everything done, most people choose to work with a Chicago expungement lawyer who’s been through the process several times.
Matt Fakhoury is a former expungement prosecutor who currently works with clients all over Chicago, Skokie and Rolling Meadows. Expunge your past, expand your future!