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Expungement Attorney in Des Plaines, IL

Imagine never having to explain away your criminal history to a prospective employer, landlord or anyone else. Imagine the possibilities that could open up to you with a clear record – what could you do? How would your life change?

Expunging your criminal record may be exactly what you need to get a fresh start.

And the best part? Expunging your record in Des Plaines may be easier than you think. Many people choose to work with a Des Plaines expungement attorney to break free from the past – and we may be able to help you.

Expungement is a process that asks a judge to review your record (and how far you’ve come) and consider erasing it forever. It’s literally a clean slate. And though not all criminal cases qualify for expungement, those that don’t often qualify for criminal record sealing; that’s a very similar process with a very similar outcome. This guide explains your options for sealing and expungement in Des Plaines, as well as what the process looks like and more.

Qualifying for Expungement in Des Plaines, IL - Attorney Matthew M. Fakhoury

What Records Can You Expunge in Des Plaines?

Only some criminal records qualify for expungement, but those that don’t may still qualify for sealing. If your record is expunged, it’s like nothing ever happened – the files relating to your case are destroyed or returned to you, so they no longer exist in the court system. (You can learn more about sealing in the later section, “Sealing Your Criminal Record in Des Plaines.”)

For the most part, you can expunge:

  • Arrests that never resulted in a conviction, whether they were for misdemeanor or felony charges, as well as cases in which the charges were dropped, you were released from police custody without charges, or you were acquitted (found not guilty) of a crime
  • Offenses that resulted in a sentence of supervision or qualified probation, in some cases
  • Convictions that the governor has pardoned
  • Convictions that have been vacated or reversed
  • Convictions that were approved by the Prisoner Review Board
  • Some nonviolent Class 3 and Class 4 felonies, but only under some conditions and only in some cases

Do You Have to Wait Before You Can Expunge Your Record in Des Plaines?

If your cases qualify for expungement, you may have to wait until you’ve completed your sentence to ask the court to clear your criminal record. The following table outlines how long you’re required to wait before you file an expungement petition in Des Plaines (or elsewhere in Illinois).

Case Result Waiting Period
Released with no charges None. You can ask the court to clear your record right away.
Charges that were dropped None. You can ask the court to clear your record right away.
Found not guilty of a crime None. You can ask the court to clear your record right away.
Sentenced to supervision 2 years. Generally, you must wait at least two years after completing your sentence before you can ask the court to clear your record.
Sentenced to qualified or special probation 5 years. Generally, you must wait at least five years after completing your sentence before you can ask the court to clear your record.

How Can You Clear Your Criminal Record in Des Plaines?

For many people, the easiest way to clear a criminal record in Des Plaines is to work with an expungement attorney. Your attorney will handle all the heavy lifting – you (for the most part) don’t have to do a thing. Your lawyer will fill out and file your petition with the court, track its progress through the courts, and even represent you at a hearing if one becomes necessary. If the judge in your case denies your petition, your attorney can also file a motion to ask the judge to reconsider giving you a fresh start.

Most expungements go through the same steps. The following table outlines the typical path of an expungement petition.

1. You talk to an attorney about expunging your Des Plaines criminal record. You set up a free consultation with a Des Plaines expungement attorney. Your consultation can take place in person, over the phone, or even through an online video conference. During your consultation, tell the attorney what’s on your record and why you believe the judge should give you a fresh start.
2. Your attorney performs a background check. Unless you already have a complete copy of your criminal history, your lawyer will need to perform a background check. Your attorney needs the information in your criminal history report to fill out and file your expungement petition.
3. Your attorney determines whether you’re eligible for expungement, sealing, or both. Your lawyer will comb through your criminal record to see which cases qualify for expungement. Those that don’t qualify for expungement may still qualify for sealing. It’s possible to have some cases that qualify for expungement, some that qualify for sealing, and some that must stay on your criminal record forever (more on that later).
4. You provide your attorney with evidence that helps your case. Your lawyer will need to submit supporting documentation that shows the judge in your case that you’re doing well – and that you deserve a clean slate. In some cases, proof of a negative drug test or completion of a treatment program are necessary. You’ll certainly want to submit anything that shows you’re a productive member of society and that you’ve come a long way since you got your criminal record; consider giving your lawyer a copy of your high school equivalency certificate or college diploma, character references from people who know you, or proof of community service or volunteer work you’ve done since your arrest.
5. Your attorney completes an expungement petition for you. Your attorney will put together a packet of documents, including your formal request to the court to expunge your record and all your supporting documentation.
6. Your attorney files the petition for you. Your lawyer will file the petition with the appropriate court – you don’t have to worry about going to the courthouse or anything at this point. You do, however, have to pay the filing fee. (This isn’t your lawyer’s fee; it’s a fee that the court requires applicants to pay.)
7. Your petition goes to interested parties for review. Some people are allowed to review your petition before a judge sees it. These people, such as the state’s attorney and police agencies, have an opportunity to object to your expungement. If anyone objects, you may be entitled to a hearing. If nobody objects, the agency or office that has your petition passes it along with a recommendation to agree.
8. A judge reviews your complete packet. After all interested parties have had the chance to object to or recommend your criminal record expungement, it finally makes its way to a judge. The judge assigned to your case will review everything – including your petition, the supporting documentation you gave your attorney, and the recommendations from interested parties – before making a decision.
9. The judge makes a decision. The judge can grant (say yes) or deny (say no) to your petition. If the judge says you deserve a fresh start, the court will issue an order to the County Clerk and all the agencies that have copies of your records; the order will direct those agencies to destroy the records or return them to you. If the judge says you do not deserve a fresh start, your attorney may be able to ask the judge to reconsider.

What Happens After Your Record is Expunged?

After your record is expunged and your information is destroyed or returned to you, you have a fresh start. It’s like you never had a criminal record in the first place – and you never even have to tell anyone about it.

Ready to learn more? Download your free Illinois expungement e-book.

Criminal Record Sealing in Des Plaines - Expungement Attorney Matthew M. Fakhoury


Sealing a Criminal Record in Des Plaines

When offenses on your record don’t qualify for expungement, they may still qualify for sealing. (Most criminal records – like those that involve convictions – can’t be expunged and can only be sealed.) The good news is that sealing is a lot like expungement, except that your records still exist; most people will never see them or know that you have had a record.

Who Can See Sealed Records?

Only a few people can see sealed records in Des Plaines, such as:

  • Prosecutors who are working in an official capacity
  • The Illinois State Police
  • People working in the court system
  • State’s attorneys
  • People working in law enforcement (such as local police agencies when you’re arrested for another crime)
  • The Illinois Department of Corrections (if you’re incarcerated)
  • Some employers – the ones that conduct fingerprint-based background checks (like the military, some schools and hospitals, and childcare facilities)

Can You Seal All Your Records in Des Plaines?

You can’t seal all your records – but for the most part, you can seal nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies. When your record is sealed, most people will never even know it’s there.

Some crimes have to remain on your record forever, such as those outlined below.

Class A misdemeanors under the Humane Care for Animals Act Dog fighting Domestic battery or aggravated domestic battery Driving under the influence, or DUI Felony public indecency
Misdemeanors listed under Article 11 of the Criminal Code Reckless driving (unless you meet certain conditions) Sex offenses that require you to register as a sex offender Soliciting or patronizing a prostitute Violation of a civil or stalking no-contact order, or of an order of protection

Do You Need to Talk to a Des Plaines Expungement Lawyer?

If you’re ready to get the fresh start you deserve, we may be able to help you. Call our office at 847-920-4540 right now to schedule your free case review. If it’s easier, fill out the form below – we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you all about your options.

Need Help? Reach Out Now.




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