What Are the Differences Between Expungement and Sealing?

If you’re ready for a fresh start and you need to leave your criminal record behind, you have two options: Expungement or sealing.

The two are similar, but they’re not the same thing—and you could be eligible for one and not the other. (Find out if you’re eligible for criminal record expungement in Illinois now!)

What Are the Differences Between Expungement and Sealing?

A criminal record expungement in Illinois results in the destruction of your criminal record.

Sealing closes off your criminal record to the public, which means most people won’t be able to see it – including landlords and most employers.

An expungement can include things like arrests, some types of probation, and even some court supervisions. A sealing can, too, but it can also even prevent some Class 3 and Class 4 felonies from showing up on your record (except to those authorized, like law enforcement officials, the military, and some employers who need to see criminal records for the safety of their clients or patients).

Differences Between the Expungement Process and the Sealing Process

Some crimes don’t qualify for expungement, but they do qualify for criminal record sealing. Either way, your criminal record clearing attorney will walk you through the entire process, from obtaining your criminal records to petitioning the court to clear your name.

Your lawyer will also be able to speak up for you in court if the state objects to your criminal record being cleared. There’s no way to predict how a judge will rule, but for many people, it makes sense to work with an attorney who understands Illinois’ criminal record clearing laws (and how they apply in different situations).

Do You Need to Talk to a Criminal Record Clearing Attorney in Chicago?

If you’re thinking about how you can move forward by leaving your criminal history in the past where it belongs, call us right away at 847-920-4540. We’ll be happy to do a free expungement or sealing case review and give you case-specific legal advice that helps you get moving in the right direction.