If you're like many people with a few blemishes on your criminal record, you could be a good candidate for expungement. Cook County and the state of Illinois have specific procedures in place to help people get a fresh start – but in order to take advantage of what the county and the state have to offer, you first must determine whether you’re eligible for expungement. Most people use our “Am I Eligible for Expungement in Illinois?” tool to get started.
Remember: even if you’ve been arrested and released, or if your case was dismissed, you have a criminal record in Illinois. The only way your criminal record will “disappear” is if you have those records expunged or sealed.
Cook County Expungements: What to Expect
If you are eligible for expungement, it’s usually a good idea to get in touch with an attorney who can walk you through the entire process.
Your lawyer will need copies of your arrest records and any other legal documents you have. If you don’t have them, that’s okay, too – in most cases, we can conduct an in-depth background check to determine exactly what’s on your criminal record in Chicago and the rest of the state.
Once we have all the information we need, we’ll file a petition with the court to ask them to review your case.
The state’s attorney can look at your petition and decide whether he or she wants to fight your expungement or sealing. If the state’s attorney objects, you might be entitled to a hearing to find out why – and state your side of the case.
If that happens, your Chicago expungement lawyer will represent you in court to ensure that the judge hears your side of the story.
We know it can be tough to get a job, find a place to live and do a number of other things if you have a criminal record, so it can’t hurt to find out whether you’re eligible for an expungement in Cook County or the rest of Illinois.