What is the Expungement Process Like?

If you’re like most people who have made a few mistakes in the past, you’ve heard about criminal record expungement – but what is it, and how does it work?

What is the Expungement Process Like?

The criminal record expungement process takes some time – but for most people, it’s well worth it. However, not everyone is eligible. To find out whether you’re eligible, you may need to talk to an attorney who can look over your criminal record. Your lawyer will also be able to perform a background check to make sure, which can be really helpful if you’re not sure where (or how) to get your criminal records.

Related: Am I Eligible for Criminal Record Expungement?

You have to take a few steps to apply for criminal record expungement, including:

  • Getting a complete copy of your criminal history
  • Providing your lawyer with all the information he needs to file your petition
  • Waiting for the court to make a decision

Getting a Copy of Your Criminal History

There are three main types of criminal records in Illinois: court dispositions, RAP sheets and Illinois State Police criminal history transcripts. Your entire criminal record – at least for the state of Illinois – should be on your Illinois State Police criminal history transcript. You can get a copy from the State Police Bureau of Identification in Joliet, or you can visit a local branch.

Related: Where to Get Copies of Your Criminal Records in Chicago

Providing Your Lawyer With Information for Your Petition

Your lawyer might need information from you, like your Social Security number, your address and other identifying information. Don’t worry, though – he’ll let you know what he needs before he begins the expungement process for you. 

Related: What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Illinois?

Waiting for the Court to Make a Decision

Expungement doesn’t happen overnight. Your case has to go through the state’s attorney before it gets to a judge’s desk. The state’s attorney has the option to object – that means if he or she doesn’t believe you deserve to continue the expungement process, he or she will note it in your file. Sometimes if the state’s attorney objects, you’ll be entitled to a hearing. If that happens in your case, your lawyer will represent you at the hearing to tell your side of the story.

Once your petition makes it to the judge’s office, the judge will have to make a decision. This can take time, which means you’ll need to sit tight for a while. If your petition is granted, your record will be clear. You don’t even have to tell anyone that you’ve ever been arrested.

Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About the Expungement Process?

If you’re thinking about having your criminal record expunged, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 right now for a free case review. We’ll look at your history and talk about the options you have for expungement or criminal record sealing.