Expungement Attorneys in Illinois
Expungement in Illinois
Under Illinois law if you have been arrested you may be eligible for an expungement of your records. In Illinois, expungement means your criminal record is either destroyed or in the case of the court file it is sealed from public view. Once your record has been expunged it may no longer be used by any private or public entity in employment matters, certifications, issuance or revocation of license, or registration, except in the case of law enforcement agencies, Department of Corrections, State’s Attorneys and other prosecutors. You are also allowed to answer “no” to any questions regarding your criminal history. Employers may not ask you if you have had your record sealed or expunged. In general sealed and expunged records in Illinois are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Illinois does define some waiting periods for filing for expungement or sealing of your criminal record:
- If you were arrested by not charged, or if you were acquitted after a trial, you may seek an expungement immediately.
- If your case was dismissed for want of prosecution or SOL, there is a 120 day waiting period after the dismissal if you made a demand for trial, and 160 days if you did not demand a trial. This applies to all cases, including felonies.
- If your case was dismissed following court supervision (i.e. probation) you must wait two (2) years. The two (2) years waiting period starts from the date you successfully completed and were dismissed from court supervision.
- In cases of domestic battery, retail theft, reckless driving, driving without insurance, and first-offense drug, controlled substances, steroid or alcohol and drug dependency charges there is a five (5) year waiting period after the termination of court supervision.
- Record Sealing
- If your case(s) involve a conviction there is a four (4) year waiting period from the time you complete your probation, parole, or other sentence.
- If you are seeking to have more than one record sealed, the four (4) years begins from the time the last case was finished.
- During the four (4) year waiting period you cannot have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, or placed under court supervision for a misdemeanor or felony.
- If your case involved court supervision, there is a three (3) year wait upon dismissal of court supervision.
In Illinois you are only eligible for expungement as an adult if the final outcome of your case was something other than a conviction. Although you may not be eligible for expungement you still may qualify for having your record sealed.
To qualify for expungement in Illinois you:
- can be arrested but have no charge(s) filed;
- the charge(s) were dismissed prior to trial or “nolle prosequi”
- the charge(s) were stricken with leave to reinstate (“SOL”);
- you were acquitted or found not guilty after a trial, or an appellate court found you factually innocent;
- your conviction was set aside on appeal;
- you were pardoned by the Governor and he/she specifically declared your records should be expunged;
- you were placed on court supervision;
- certain first-time offenses under the Cannabis Control Act, Control Substances Act, Steroid Control Act, and Alcohol and Drug Dependency Act offenses
Expungement in Illinois is not available for driving under the influence of alcohol, even if you were ordered to court supervision. Expungement is also not available to you if you were granted court supervision for a sexual offense committed against a minor under 18 years of age. You are also not eligible if you have previous convictions for criminal offenses or municipal ordinance violations. Illinois does not allow ordinary traffic tickets, orders of protection, or civil orders or judgments to be expunged.