Illinois Criminal Record Expungement vs. Sealing

Naperville Expungement Lawyer

Everyone makes mistakes at some point in their life, and for some, these mistakes can include breaking the law. When this occurs, you deserve a second chance. In Illinois, expungement and sealing are two ways you can get that opportunity. Expunging or sealing your criminal records lets you keep your past actions in the past and can prevent future employers from seeing any unfortunate mistake. There are limitations to what you can and cannot seal or expunge, however.

Differences Between Expungement and Sealing

While they are very similar, there are a few differences between record expungement and record sealing. If you qualify to have your criminal record expunged, the expungement will erase your arrests and/or court supervisions like they never happened. If you have your criminal record sealed, your record will be hidden from most of the public. Most employers are not able to see sealed records, though sealed criminal records will still be visible to law enforcement agencies.

Qualifications and Requirements

You are not permitted to expunge any record that resulted in a conviction unless that conviction was reversed, vacated, or pardoned by the governor. Depending on the charge, you may be able to seal a conviction depending on how much time has passed. The types of criminal arrests, charges, or sentences that can be expunged include:

  • Arrests that did not result in a conviction;
  • Sentences for court supervision, depending on how much time has passed; and
  • Certain probation sentences.

Although sealing is similar to expungement, the qualifications for sealing are slightly more lenient. Minor traffic violations, DUI offenses, domestic and sexual violence charges, and animal mistreatment cannot be sealed. The types of offenses that are permitted to be sealed include:

  • Arrests and charges that did not result in a conviction;
  • Some misdemeanor and felony convictions, as long as three years have passed since the completion of your sentence; and
  • Certain first-offense charges under the Cannabis Control Act, Controlled Substances Act, or the Methamphetamine Control Act.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Expungement Attorney 

The process involved in getting your criminal record expunged or sealed is long and complicated. There are multiple steps and many forms to complete and file with the court, and any mistake can lead to a longer wait. If you are looking to have your criminal records erased or sealed, you need help from a skilled Naperville, IL criminal record expungement lawyer. At Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, we understand expungement or sealing can give you that second chance you deserve. Call our office today at 630-232-1780 to schedule a free consultation.