What is the Criminal Record Expungement Process Like?

For many people, the process of expunging or sealing a criminal record is a complicated one—but it doesn’t have to be. Working with a Chicago expungement lawyer from the moment you decide to clear your criminal record can make things simpler (and save you time).

What is the Criminal Record Expungement Process Like?

Before you can petition the court to clear your criminal record, you’ll need a complete copy of that record. You can get your own criminal record by contacting the agency where you were processed or you can ask your attorney to do a criminal background check for you, but you’ll need your entire RAP sheet. (RAP sheet is slang for “Record of Arrests and Prosecutions.”)

Once you have your entire criminal record, you can determine whether you’re eligible for expungement. If you’re not, you could still be eligible for criminal record sealing

When your attorney determines that you’re eligible for expungement, he’ll file the appropriate petition with the court; that’s the first step in clearing your name and getting the fresh start you deserve.

In some cases, the state’s attorney—the lawyer that represents the state of Illinois’ best interests in criminal cases—will object to an expungement. If that happens in your case, you may be entitled to a hearing where you can explain your side of the story. Your lawyer can argue on your behalf if the state objects to your petition.

If the judge in your case approves your expungement, the court will order the law enforcement agencies that have your criminal records to destroy them. (If you’re having your records sealed, the court will order that instead.)

Do You Need to Talk to a Chicago Expungement Lawyer?

If you need to talk to an attorney about clearing your name so you can move forward and leave the past behind, call us right away at 847-920-4540 for a free expungement case evaluation. We’ll look at your record and explain your options, and then we’ll develop a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.