Can You Expunge Sex Offenses in Illinois?

Many people want to know if you can expunge sex offenses in Illinois. The answer is a little bit complex – and you won’t be able to figure out whether you can expunge a sex crime unless you understand what counts as a sex crime (and which people it applies to) in Chicago and the rest of the state.

What is a Sex Crime in Illinois?

A sex crime is a crime that involves sexual misconduct, including assault, unlawful sexual behavior or illegal pornography. Sex crimes also include statutory rape (even if you were under the age of consent at the time).

If the state convicts you of a sex crime, you’ll be considered a sex offender.

Can Sex Crimes Be Expunged in Chicago?

Illinois law is very clear about expunging sex crimes from your record. For the most part, it’s not possible to expunge a sex crime conviction – but there are some exceptions to the rule.

The exceptions include juvenile incidents that would not be felonies if an adult committed them. In those cases, you must be able to answer “Yes” to the following questions:

  • Are you 21 years old or older?
  • Has it been 5 years or longer since your last juvenile court proceeding?
  • Has it been 5 years or longer since your commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice has ended?
  • Have you had a clean record (with no convictions for any crime) since you turned 18?

Even then, there are no guarantees that you can expunge a sex crime from your record.

Anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act cannot expunge or seal a record, even if the crime was a misdemeanor. Also, soliciting a sexual act or patronizing a prostitute can neither be expunged nor sealed.

Adults typically cannot expunge or seal any sex crimes from their criminal records. For the most part, you can’t expunge convictions; you can only clean up your record if you have been arrested but not convicted.

What Does the Sex Offender Registration Act Say?

The Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act outlines the people who must register as sex offenders. It includes people who have been:

  • Convicted of a sex crime
  • Found “not guilty” of a sex crime by reason of insanity
  • The subject of a finding that doesn’t result in acquittal
  • Declared as a “sexually dangerous person”
  • Found to be a sexually violent person

Because every case is different, it’s best to talk to an expungement lawyer in Chicago who can evaluate your situation and let you know whether you may be able to clear your criminal record through expungement or sealing.