Expungement and Sealing Criminal Records in Illinois
The story is common: you do something stupid and illegal in your younger years and you get caught. You go to court, you are convicted, and your criminal record has the horrible black mark from your younger indiscretions for the rest of time.
There does happen to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Illinois law provides options for getting that dreaded black mark off of your record. Illinois Compiled Statute 20 ILCS 2630/0.01 et seq. allows for qualifying arrests, supervision, and probation to be expunged.
However, there are a few exceptions under this Illinois law. The primary exception is if you have previously been convicted of a crime you are likely ineligible to have your record expunged, but you may still be eligible under the law for sealing criminal records, regardless of the outcome of the case. Nevertheless, it is important to note that only criminal records prosecuted and maintained by the state of Illinois are eligible for expungement or sealing; federal and out of state convictions cannot be sealed or expunged under the Illinois statute.
How to Gain Expungement in Illinois
In order to gain expungement or sealing of a criminal record, certain forms must be filed in the county where you were arrested and the charge was brought. Generally, a filing fee is paid and a fee of $60 is paid to the Illinois State Police. After the appropriate forms are filed in the appropriate court, the State gets 60 days to object to a petition to expunge or seal.
However, this does not mean that your record will be expunged or sealed within 60 days; the State simply reserves the option to take 60 days to object to the petition. Once the 60 days has passed, several months can elapse before the expungement or sealing is approved by a judge, and after such approval, it can take up to 60 more days for law enforcement agencies to process the order.
Most crimes can be sealed or expunged, but there are a few crimes that are ineligible for expungement or sealing under the Act. Crimes involving driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 625 ILCS 5/11-501, and reckless driving, 625 ILCS 5/11-503 cannot be sealed unless they fall within very specific exceptions carved out by the statute. In addition, any sexual offense committed against a minor under the age of 18, including but not limited to indecent solicitation of a child or criminal sexual abuse where the victim is under 18, can never be sealed.
An Illinois Attorney Can Help
Regardless of your specific crime, there may be options that you can take to preserve your reputation and clear your criminal record. These laws and regulations are complex and require the help and attention of a skilled criminal law attorney. The knowledgeable and professional attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC are available to help you expunge and seal criminal records and get you on the road of living beyond the shadow of your past. Contact the criminal law attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC for a confidential interview and to get started on clearing your criminal record today.