Expungement Definition

What is expungement? Check out this expungement definition and find out what you need to do to clear your criminal record once and for all.

Expungement Definition

Expungement is the act of clearing your criminal record in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. This type of criminal record clearing makes your record disappear – the courts and other agencies that have copies of your records will destroy them or return them to you.

Related: Expungement basics

Expungement Definition vs. the Definition of Criminal Record Sealing

Expungement is different from criminal record sealing. The definition of expungement is that your record is gone – nobody can ever find it again. When it comes to sealing, your record still exists; it’s just that most of the public won’t have access to it any longer. If your record is sealed, law enforcement, the military and some employers (like hospitals and those that require you to work with vulnerable people) will still be able to see it.

Related: What does it mean to expunge a criminal record?

How Can You Get a Record Expunged?

The first step in expunging your record is to find out if you’re even eligible. Not everyone is, because some crimes don’t qualify for expungement. You can begin finding out if you’re eligible by answering a few questions here or by calling us at 847-920-4540.

If you are eligible and you choose to work with a Chicago expungement lawyer, we’ll get to work. We will file the right petitions with the court. Then, the state’s attorney has a chance to object to your petition. If he or she objects, you may be entitled to a hearing – and if you are, we’ll represent you.

If the state’s attorney doesn’t object to your expungement, your petition moves on to the next step and ends up in a judge’s hands. The judge will evaluate your record and look at your petition, and he or she will decide if you’re entitled to a fresh start under Illinois law.

The process isn’t quick. In fact, it can take several months – but it does mean that you have a fresh start, and that you never have to tell anyone that you had a criminal record in the first place.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About the Expungement Definition or to Start an Expungement Case?

If you think you may be eligible for criminal record expungement, or if you’d like to find out whether you are, call us right away at 847-920-4540. We’ll talk about your criminal history and start creating a plan that gets you the best possible outcome.