How Long Does it Take to Seal a Criminal Record in Chicago?

Clearing your Illinois criminal record can make a huge difference in your life, but it’s an involved process that takes time to complete.

How Long Does it Take to Seal a Criminal Record in Chicago, Illinois?

The state of Illinois requires you to wait until the courts have completely closed before you can clear your criminal record. Additionally, there are certain waiting periods for different types of cases ad sentences, as well as an overview of your entire record.

Generally speaking, you will have to wait three to four years from the date that you successfully completed your sentence to have your criminal record sealed in Illinois

You do not have to wait if a court has never convicted you of a crime and the final disposition on your case was:

  • Acquittal
  • Dismissal
  • Finding of no probable cause
  • No charges filed
  • Nolle Prosequi (NP)
  • Stricken with leave

If you have any convictions on your record, you’ll have to wait four years from the end of your most recent sentence to petition the court to seal your record.

Here’s a quick look at the other waiting periods involved (although there are exceptions to these rules, so you’ll need to talk to a Chicago expungement lawyer to be sure).

  • Possession of cannabis or of a controlled substance (select cases only): 3 years
  • Reckless driving that occurred after January 1, 2013 and you were under the age of 25 at the time: After you reach the age of 26
  • Some Class 3 or Class 4 felonies that do not involve violence, sex or guns: 5 years
  • Misdemeanors that do not involve sexual offense against minors (people under the age of 18), DUI or reckless driving

When Sealing is Not an Option

There are some cases that cannot be sealed in Illinois. Your attorney can give you a more complete picture, but some of these cases include:

  • Misdemeanor violations of the Humane Care for Animals Act
  • DUI
  • Dog fighting
  • Pimping
  • Distribution of Harmful Material
  • Reckless conduct
  • Criminal sexual abuse
  • Violation of an Order of Protection

If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible to seal your record, or what the mandatory waiting periods are, talk to your attorney. He’ll be able to fill you in on all the details of sealing a criminal record in Illinois