Can All Criminal Records Be Expunged or Sealed in Illinois?

If you’re like many people, you have an Illinois criminal record following you around – but is it possible to erase or seal some (or all) of your record? This guide explains.

Can All Criminal Records Be Expunged or Sealed in Illinois?

Not all criminal records can be expunged or sealed in Illinois. In fact, some convictions have to remain on your record forever. For example, if you were ever convicted of DUI, dog fighting, sex offenses, and even reckless driving (under certain circumstances), these convictions can’t be expunged or sealed.

Related: How long does expungement take in Illinois?

Expungement Versus Sealing

Expungement and sealing – though the two are very similar – are different things:

  • Expungement erases your criminal record completely. The agency or agencies that have your records must destroy them or return them to you. They no longer exist in agencies’ databases if a judge grants your petition for expungement. Usually, you can’t expunge convictions. You can, however, expunge arrests that never led to convictions.
  • Sealing closes off all or part of your criminal record so that the general public can’t see it. However, some people will still be able to see sealed records, such as law enforcement and people working in the criminal justice system, employers that use fingerprint-based background checks, and judges. It’s possible to seal some convictions.

What if You Can’t Seal or Expunge Your Record?

Even if you can’t seal or expunge your entire criminal record, you may be able to clear some of it. If some of the offenses on your record don’t qualify for either expungement or sealing, other offenses still may – and you can clear those that do qualify. The best way to find out what parts of your record qualify for expungement or sealing is to talk to a Chicago criminal record clearing attorney.

Related: Do felonies fall off your record after 7 years?

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?

If you’re tired of your criminal past coming back to bite you, we may be able to help. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.

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