Illinois Expungement Terms: What You Need to Know

When you’re trying to get a fresh start by having your criminal record expunged in Illinois, the terms can get a bit confusing. This guide can help you keep tabs on your case—but if you come up with questions, don’t hesitate to ask your Illinois expungement lawyer. He or she will be happy to answer your questions and explain what’s going on with your case.

Illinois Expungement Glossary


Adjudication is a formal court judgment.


A conviction is a final judgment of guilt by the court.

Criminal Identification Act

The Illinois Criminal Identification Act is the law that permits expungement and sealing in the state of Illlinois.


A denial is the court’s rejection of an expungement petition or sealing petition.


A disposition is the court’s final order in your criminal case.


To expunge a person’s record is to either physically destroy the records or return them to the petitioner (the person who wants an expungement), and at the same time, to remove the petitioner’s name from any official index or public record.


In Illinois, a felony is a crime that’s punishable by imprisonment for more than a year in a state prison; typically, felonies are more serious than misdemeanors are.


In Illinois, a misdemeanor is a crime that’s punishable by confinement in a county jail for up to a year.


When you’re trying to get your record expunged, the state may object to your petition; this basically means that they don’t want your record expunged (or sealed). The state has 60 days to object, but remember, an objection isn’t the same as a denial.


Your petition is a written request to the court.


When your criminal records are sealed, they still exist—but they’re not available to the public without a court order; at the same time, your name is removed from any official index or public record. Even if your records are sealed, law enforcement agencies and the courts can still access them, and so will some employers and other entities, such as the military as used for recruitment purposes.


Supervision is a court order that holds your case open for a set period of time. It usually lasts between 6 months and 2 years, but it can vary either way because every case is different. During supervision, the court doesn’t enter a judgment of guilt; if you follow all of the conditions of your supervision, the court will dismiss your case and won’t enter a conviction against you.

Do You Need to Expunge or Seal Your Criminal Record in Chicago?

If you’re ready for a fresh start, it’s time to talk to a Chicago expungement lawyer who may be able to help.

Call us at 847-920-4540 or get in touch with us online for a free case evaluation. We’ll be happy to give you the guidance you need. In the meantime, find out if you’re eligible for expungement or sealing in Illinois and find out what you need to get your record cleared