If you choose to file your own expungement or sealing documents in Illinois, you can expect quite a bit of work on your part. This guide explains the three ways to file for your own expungement or sealing in the state of Illinois – as well as an easier alternative.
The 3 Ways to File for Expungement or Sealing in Illinois
To file your expungement or sealing petition with the state of Illinois, you must:
- File in person
- File by mail
- File online
Here’s a closer look at each.
File an Expungement or Sealing Petition in Illinois in Person
To file an expungement or sealing petition in person, you must go to the courthouse in the county (or district) that has your records. Hand your petition directly to the circuit court clerk and pay the filing fee. You can only hand in a complete petition – if your petition is incomplete, the court will reject it and you’ll have to start from scratch.
File an Expungement or Sealing Petition in Illinois by Mail
You may not be able to file your expungement or sealing petition by mail. For example, if you’re asking for a fee waiver, you may have to file in person. (You can find out whether this applies to you by contacting the circuit court clerk.)
Every county has its own rules for filing by mail. You will probably need extra copies of your request, and you may need a self-addressed, stamped envelope so that the circuit clerk can send you a file-stamped copy.
Like filing in person, you must file a complete petition or the court will reject it and you’ll have to start over.
File an Expungement or Sealing Petition in Illinois Online
Some counties allow you to file online, though in some cases, you still have to appear in person (even if you successfully file online). You have to check with your circuit clerk to ensure that your county allows it – and to find the right web address to file.
Alternatives to Filing Your Own Expungement or Sealing Petition
You don’t have to file your own expungement or sealing petition. You can hire an attorney to handle the whole process for you – including putting together a complete petition. Many people find that having an attorney handle the process is much easier than doing it themselves.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?
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