You have a criminal record if you have been arrested, even if the case was eventually dismissed. The charges will stay on your record unless a judge orders your record sealed or expunged. Only certain crimes are eligible to be sealed or expunged under Illinois law.
Your criminal record can cause many difficulties in obtaining employment, professional licensing or student loans. Since 2004, Illinois law allows offenders with qualifying arrests, misdemeanor supervisions and misdemeanor convictions may petition the court for expungement or sealing of their records. Only criminal records prosecuted and maintained by the State of Illinois are affected. Federal and out-of-state convictions do not fall under the law.
Call attorney Ramon A. Moore at 312.332.5134 if you have a criminal record that you need sealed or expunged. He has the knowledge to effectively represent you throughout the entire process. Your initial consultation is free.
Expunged or Sealed
- Expungement: When a record is “expunged”, it is as if the crime never occurred. Most agencies expunge, or destroy, their records.
- Sealed: When a record is “sealed”, the file remains intact. it is labeled as “sealed” and can only be released to other law enforcement agencies. Employers will not have access to the records.
You may be eligible to have your case expunged or sealed after a two to five year period of time, (depending on each case) if you are placed on supervision, probation or convicted of a misdemeanor. The Clerk of the Court in the county in which the offense occurred and the Office of the State Appellate Defender have information which you can request that more fully explains your right to expunge or seal records, together with the proper forms; however, multiple convictions, supervisions or arrests may affect your eligibility to have these records expunged or sealed.
There are different types of criminal records:
- Court Disposition – The final judgment or outcome in a court case.
- RAP Sheet – List of all arrests, charges, and court case outcomes that happen by that arresting agency.
- Illinois State Police RAP Sheet – List of all convictions that happened in Illinois.
In order to get your criminal record sealed or expunged, there are several steps you must take.
- Obtain information for all cases, including county, arresting agency, case number, date of arrest, and how the case ended.
- Determine eligibility. You cannot expunge a record if you were convicted of a crime, however, you may be eligible to seal all or part of your record from public view.
- File the proper petitions with the court and pay the filing fee.
- The State’s Attorney can object to your petition to expunge or seal. If there is no objection, your expungement or sealing will most likely be granted by the court.
- If the State’s Attorney objects, you may be entitled to a hearing.
- If the order is granted, it must be sent to both the Illinois State Police as well as the agency that arrested you.
- This is not a quick process – it may take several months for the sealing or expungement to be granted, and in some cases, the process could take longer.
Sealed records are closed and restricted from public access, but the records are not destroyed. An expungement, on the other hand, is the permanent destruction of case records. In order to qualify for an expungement, one of the following conditions must be met:
- You were never convicted of any crime
- You were released without charging (including for a minor traffic offense), acquitted, and/or your case was dismissed
- Your conviction was vacated or reversed
- You were granted an Executive Pardon from the Governor, which specifically authorizes expungement
In some situations, a person may apply for expungement of his or her entire criminal record five years after the successful completion of a supervision program or probation period.
The process of sealing or expunging criminal or traffic records can be difficult to understand and navigate. It is advisable to seek the representation of an experienced criminal attorney. Call attorney Ramon A. Moore at 312.332.5134 if you have a criminal record that you need sealed or expunged. He has the knowledge to effectively represent you throughout the entire process.
Call attorney Ramon A. Moore at 312.332.5134 to discuss getting your criminal records expunged or sealed. Your initial consultation is free.