FAQ on Criminal Record Expungement in Chicago

Criminal record expungement can be a complicated process, and many people have questions about it. If you’re thinking about expunging your record but you’re not sure where to turn, this guide can help. And if you don’t see the answers you’re looking for here, please feel free to call our office at 847-920-4540. We’ll get you the answers you need.

FAQ on Criminal Record Expungement in Chicago

Check out these common questions on criminal record expungement.

What is Expungement?

Criminal record expungement is the process of clearing your record so that no one sees you’ve been involved with the law before. In the state of Illinois, expungement completely erases your record. In fact, your record is destroyed or returned to you. It’s as if your arrest or other legal entanglements never happened.

Related: The steps a lawyer will take to expunge your record

Who’s Eligible for Expungement?

Not every offense is eligible for expungement. In fact, most convictions are not eligible and must remain on your criminal record unless you choose criminal record sealing, which is another, separate process. Generally, you can expunge arrests that never led to a conviction and a small handful of other offenses on your criminal record. You should talk to an attorney about what items on your criminal record are eligible for expungement and which are eligible for sealing. That way, you can make the most informed decision about clearing your criminal record in Illinois.

Related: Life after expungement: What’s next?

What is Criminal Record Sealing?

Criminal record sealing is a different process than expungement. Although both require similar paperwork the outcome is very different. When your criminal record is sealed, it still exists, but it’s no longer accessible to the general public. In fact, only some employers, law enforcement officials and those working for the court system in an official capacity will be able to see it. However, your records will not be destroyed like they are with expungement, and if you reoffend later, the items on your record may come up in court.

Related: Why you need a criminal record expungement attorney in Chicago

Who’s Eligible for Sealing?

Many convictions are eligible for criminal record sealing. However, there are some crimes that are never eligible for criminal record clearing at all, such as domestic battery, DUI and a series of others that involve violence. You should talk to an attorney if you feel you may have crimes on your records that are eligible for sealing, because an attorney can let you know the best way to clear your criminal record and start moving forward with your life.

Related: How to figure out if you’re eligible for expungement in Illinois

How Long Does Expungement Take?

The expungement process can take several months to complete. Many people choose to work with a lawyer to smooth out the beginning part of the process, which involves filling out and filing extensive forms. In order to file a petition for expungement, you must have a complete copy of your criminal record. Many people find it difficult to obtain their entire criminal record, so they retain an attorney to conduct a background check and fill out and file the petition for them.

Related: The benefits of expunging your criminal record in Chicago

What Are the Benefits of Expungement?

There are several benefits of expungement, and some of them may apply to you. Many people who have criminal histories find it difficult to find a good job, a good place to live or even obtain credit period some people also find it difficult to get professional licensing or the education they need to move forward in their lives. If your criminal record is holding you back, expungement may be the answer period and if you’re not eligible for expungement, you may be eligible for criminal record sealing. An attorney can tell you the best way to clear your criminal record and get the fresh start you deserve.

Related: The ultimate guide to sealing your criminal record in Chicago

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Expungement or Sealing?

If you’re tired of your criminal past coming back to bite you, we may be able to help. Call us right now at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below so we can talk about your case.

Need Help? Reach Out Now.

"*" indicates required fields