If you’re like many people, you want to clear your criminal record in Cook County – home to Chicago and a handful of its suburbs. But where do you start? Check out this Cook County expungement guide to get the scoop on getting a fresh start.
Cook County Expungement Guide
Clearing your criminal record through expungement means you get a fresh start. You don’t ever have to tell prospective employers, landlords or creditors that you had a criminal record – it’s like nothing ever happened.
For most people, the best way to expunge a criminal record is to work with a Cook County expungement attorney. Your attorney will fill out and file all the right paperwork, follow it through the court system and even represent you if someone objects to your expungement petition.
Although it is possible to do your own expungement, many people find that working with a lawyer is the easiest and fastest way to clear a criminal record.
In this Cook County expungement guide, you’ll discover the steps you need to take, the forms you need, how to find out where to file and more.
Cook County Expungement Guide: What’s the First Step in Clearing Your Criminal Record?
The first step in clearing your criminal record is to get your hands on your entire record. That means if you’ve been arrested, charged, tried or convicted in more than one jurisdiction, you need to get your record from each place that has it. Most often, people have an attorney conduct a background check.
Related: Free Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing e-Book
After you have your record, you must determine whether you’re eligible for expungement. If you’re not eligible for expungement in Cook County, you may still be eligible for criminal record sealing.
Cook County Expungement Guide: What Forms Do You Need to Clear Your Criminal Record?
You’ll need to fill out very specific forms to clear your criminal record in Cook County. Every jurisdiction has its own forms – and Chicago’s forms are different from others. When you fill out your paperwork, you must be very careful; if you make a mistake, it can result in a rejection. If the courts reject your petition, you’ll have to start over.
What Happens After You File Your Expungement Petition?
After you file your expungement petition, it makes its way to the state’s attorney’s desk. The state’s attorney has the option to agree with your petition or object to it. If he or she objects, you may be entitled to a hearing. Your Cook County expungement attorney can represent you at your hearing. If there is an objection, it will go with your petition and eventually end up before a judge. The judge will read the state’s attorney’s recommendation and consider it when making a decision – and at that time, the judge can choose whether to allow you to expunge your record.
Do You Have Questions About This Cook County Expungement Guide?
If you’re considering expunging your criminal record, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 for a free case review. We can answer your questions and explain more of the process to you, and if you’re eligible for expungement, we can help you get moving in the right direction.