An arrest in Illinois can impact the rest of your life. Even if the state drops the criminal charges against you, it’s not over. If you have ever been arrested in Chicago, Skokie, Rolling Meadows or anywhere else in Illinois, you have a criminal record.
Anyone can access your criminal record through a criminal background check. Having a criminal record is more than just embarrassing – it can keep you from getting a job, finding a place to live or even getting credit in your name. Employers, landlords and lenders can access your criminal record, so you may have a tough time providing for yourself and your loved ones.
However, Illinois law may allow you to move forward with your life after an arrest or conviction. You may be eligible to have your record sealed or expunged. When you have your record expunged or sealed, you get a clean slate – and a chance at a fresh start.
At The Law Offices of Matthew M. Fakhoury, LLC, we know that everyone makes mistakes. However, we don’t believe those mistakes define us. That’s why we have devoted an entire division of our practice to helping people in Chicago and the suburbs put their pasts behind them: Xpunge Chicago.
Our goal is to help you clean up your criminal record, including court and arrest records.
Former prosecutor Matthew M. Fakhoury understands Illinois’ complex expungement and sealing laws. As a seasoned Chicago expungement attorney, Mr. Fakhoury can work with you to keep your criminal record from haunting you for the rest of your life.
Record Sealing Laws in
Many of our clients are surprised to learn that even if their criminal charges were dropped or their case was dismissed, arrest records and case information remain on their Illinois criminal record.
You read that right. Even if you weren’t convicted of a crime – or even charged with a crime – anyone can still find your criminal record with a simple background check.
The only way to erase records related to an arrest or charge on your criminal record is to petition a judge to order expungement.
Thankfully, many crimes are eligible to be sealed or expunged in our state, including:
ASSAULT & BATTERY
GUN & WEAPONS CHARGE
Convictions for any of these crimes don’t usually qualify for expungement,
but they may be eligible for sealing.
We’ve summarized the difference between expunging and
sealing your criminal record below
Illinois Record Expungement
Record expungement means your criminal record is completely erased and no longer accessible to the public. With an expungement, your criminal records are destroyed or given back to you. Record expunging removes your name from all public criminal records.
You may be eligible for expungement if the state dismissed your charges, you were found not guilty of the charges, you were arrested and never charged, or if you were sentenced to supervision for certain convictions (and you successfully completed your sentence). If your arrest did not result in a guilty verdict, of if you were the victim of criminal identity theft, you can expunge your record immediately.
Illinois Record Sealing
If you are not eligible to have your record expunged, you may still qualify to have your record sealed. Record sealing means your criminal history will no longer be available to employers or other members of the public. Only law enforcement, some government agencies and a few employers will be able to access your criminal record.
Many misdemeanor and felony convictions can be sealed. However, you must wait at least 3 years after completing your last sentence before you can petition the court to seal your record. Some convictions can never be sealed, though, so it’s often best to talk to a Chicago expungement lawyer to find out which of your records are eligible.
After we determine your eligibility for expungement or sealing, the next step in the process is to file a petition with the court. After we file your petition, the state’s attorney, police and other agencies have 60 days to object. If the state’s attorney does object, you could be entitled to a hearing – and your attorney can represent you and explain your situation.
If your petition is approved, the judge creates an order. The agencies that have your records have 60 days to expunge or seal them. The process usually takes around 6 months, but that time frame can vary.
The laws surrounding Illinois record expungement and sealing can be complicated, and the process for applying can be long and difficult. For most people, it’s easier to work with an Illinois criminal lawyer who has extensive experience in record sealing and expunging.
MEET OUR ATTORNEYS
Matt Fakhoury J.D.
Matt Fakhoury is a former prosecutor and currently a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. Mr. Fakhoury is also an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University where he teaches law courses in the undergraduate sociology department.
Mr. Fakhoury has tried numerous bench and jury trials and has practiced in all areas of Cook County (Chicago – 26th Street and California, as well as Chicago’s First Municipal District Branch Courts, The Second Municipal District (Skokie), The Third Municipal District (Rolling Meadows), The Fourth Municipal District (Maywood), The Fifth Municipal District (Bridgeview), and The Sixth Municipal District (Markham).
Colleen LeFevour received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Concordia University Chicago in 2015. Colleen attended The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, and obtained her Juris Doctor Degree. While in undergraduate and law school, Colleen was employed with the Rosemont Public Safety Department in Rosemont, Illinois. She also clerked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau and clerked for the Domestic Violence and Family Law Clinic at The John Marshall Law School. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois.
Caitlin Wilder received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology from Loyola University Chicago in 2017. Caitlin attended UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, and obtained her Juris Doctor Degree. While in undergrad, Caitlin clerked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Juvenile Justice Bureau. While in law school, she clerked at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in the Homicide Task Force as well as in private practice focusing on federal white-collar defense. In addition, Ms. Wilder worked for the Pro Bono Litigation Clinic at UIC John Marshall Law School.
Lead expungement attorney Matt Fakhoury has assisted many clients in Chicago and the surrounding areas start over with a record expungement or sealing order.
Jun 3, 2020
by Brian on
Very professional and extremely responsive
Matt was very professional and extremely responsive to our needs. He knew exactly what was needed being out of state and the time frame in which it could be completed. Highly recommended.
May 18, 2020
by Matthew on
One of the top attorneys I've worked with
Absolutely one of the top attorneys I’ve had the pleasure to work with. Matt and his team by far exceeded expectations. The consult piece was dealt with 100% transparency. I would recommend to anyone.
Jul 24, 2019
by Marisol on
Matt Fakhoury and his team are simply fantastic
Matt Fakhoury and his team are simply fantastic. The process was so easy because of his expertise, professionalism, efficiency, and excellent communication. He went above and beyond and I am forever grateful. In a nutshell--EXCEPTIONAL experience! Highly recommend to anyone who is looking for a lawyer.
Jul 10, 2019
by Dagmara on
Thank you again Matt for everything you had done for me
Matt is a very knowledgeable lawyer, caring, and very responsive and helpful to any question you ask him, If I ever need a lawyer again I will definitely use Matt . I have used other lawyers but Matt is the best. Thank you again Matt for everything you had done for me
May 15, 2019
by Yousef on
Matt and his colleague Chloe were very diligent, swift and professional
Matt and his colleague Chloe were very diligent, swift and professional in handling my situation. This included addressing all of my questions and concerns promptly. They made me feel very comfortable and confident that I was being represented by the most competent attorneys available
May 4, 2019
by G.V. on
MATT, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
If I had to choose one word to describe my experience with Matt, it would be REMARKABLE. I feel incredibly lucky to have found him. His professionalism and attentiveness have gone far above and beyond any service I could have ever expected. He makes himself available, returning emails and phone calls within minutes; he is concrete and straight forward, helping set realistic expectations without giving false hope; and he is compassionate. I expected to be stressed through the process, but Matt held my hand until every one of my cases was expunged. He literally could not have made it an easier for me. In addition, he is highly respected by his peers, which only attests to his abilities. Because of Matt, I have been able to move forward with my life, and I am no longer stuck with the shadow of who I used to be. You can hire Matt with the confidence that he will do exactly as he promises.
May 1, 2019
by Joanne A. on
I would like to thank Matt and his staff for the excellent work they do.
Apr 24, 2019
by Happy Client on
Attorney Matthew and Atty. Vincent are the REAL DEAL!
Attorney Matthew and Atty. Vincent are the REAL DEAL! you don't really know what to expect when you hire attorney, but I believe that they were Sincere, Specific, Didn't waste my time, Concerned and Very Professional! I give this Law Firm a 10PLUS!!!
Apr 20, 2019
by Stephen on
I am an extremely happy client
I am an extremely happy client. Matt Fakhoury and his team changed my life. I was convicted of Felony burglary back in 1990 and had a few misdemeanors since,but nothing in the past 20 years. I work in the health care field and I had reached a glass ceiling in my profession so I decided to further my career. While completing the requirements to be accepted to a college program I was denied because of my background. I contacted Attorney Stacy and she handled everything over the phone and via email. I was informed every step of the way. The process took about 10 months but it was all worth it. I was recently accepted to the same program that denied me last year. Thanks to Matt Fakhoury my future is Extremely Bright! I recommend Matt to anyone needing help with expungement or sealing of criminal records.
Apr 16, 2019
by Happy Client on
Matt is a great attorney!
Matt is a great attorney! I was given on 2nd chance probation that was terminated with satisfactory. I had to wait 3 years to seal this from my record. I met Matt and he explained me that there is a law if you get a degree or certification/ education during your probation, court will allow you to seal the record earlier than 3 years. Sure enough, the judge just granted the seal because of Matt and his knowledge. Thank you Matt!
A criminal record can be devastating to your professional, personal and family life. However, expunging or sealing your criminal record can remove the stigma of being labeled as a criminal, open the door to better jobs, housing, and educational opportunities, as well as protect your reputation.
If you believe you qualify to have your record expunged or sealed in Illinois, take the first step by reaching out to Xpunge Chicago. Expungement attorney Matt Fakhoury has helped many people in Chicago and the surrounding areas start over through record expungement and criminal record sealing.
Mr. Fakhoury treats every client with thoughtfulness and compassion. He’ll work with you to determine your eligibility and put you on the right path toward getting your petition approved. When you work with Mr. Fakhoury at XpungeChicago, he’ll treat you with personal attention and dignity.
For a free case review and case-specific advice from our legal professionals, contact XpungeChicago today. At our expungement office, Matt Fakhoury and his legal team are ready to be your closest allies through the process of your Illinois expungement or sealing petition.
Is it better to seal or expunge arrest records in Illinois? If you were arrested and never charged with a crime, your case was dismissed, or you were found not guilty of the crime, you’re eligible to do either, so this guide can help you decide what’s best for you.
Is it Better to Seal or Expunge Arrest Records in Illinois?
Sealing and expungement are similar, but they’re not exactly
If you’ve been convicted of arson – or any other crime, for that matter – you most likely don’t want your past hanging over your head. Having a criminal record is tough, and it disrupts your life; it can prevent you from doing the things you want to do, including getting a job, finding a place to live, and even getting credit.