Clean Up My Record: What is Criminal Record Sealing?

Criminal record sealing is a process that many people go through to make their criminal histories unavailable to the public. When your record is sealed, most people can’t see it – and that means most people won’t even know it’s there.

Clean Up My Record: What is Criminal Record Sealing?

Criminal record sealing is the process of asking a court to lock your criminal record away so that most people won’t be able to see it. You have to go through the county or city that has your records. For example, if you were arrested and convicted in Hanover Township, you must go through the Cook County court system; if you were arrested in DuPage County, you must go through the DuPage County court system to seal your records.

Related: Can an employer ask me about my criminal record in Illinois?

What Happens to Sealed Criminal Records?

If your records are sealed, the information in them won’t come up in a routine background check. However, it will most likely come up in a fingerprint-based background check (such as those conducted by law enforcement agencies and some employers – particularly those in healthcare, childcare and the military). 

Your records will still be available to law enforcement agencies, the Department of Corrections, those working within the legal system (like state’s attorneys conducting official business related to you), and the small minority of employers that conduct fingerprint-based background checks. However, your criminal history will not be available to landlords, most other employers or the general public.

Related: What are the abbreviations on an Illinois RAP sheet?

How Can You Seal Your Criminal Record?

Many people choose to work with an attorney to seal their criminal records. The process can be time-consuming and, in some cases, confusing. You must fill out and file very specific forms with the courts, and sometimes interested parties – like the agency that arrested you or the state’s attorney – object to criminal record sealing petitions. (If that happens, you may be entitled to a hearing, and if you have an attorney, your attorney can represent you at the hearing.)

If you want to expunge your own criminal record, you can get help from a lawyer with the process. Check out DIY Expungement in Illinois for more information.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?

If you need to speak with an attorney about clearing your criminal record, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 now or fill out the form below for a free consultation.

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