FELONY EXPUNGEMENT IN ILLINOIS
Record expungement means that your criminal record is destroyed by the Clerk of Court, the Illinois State Police, the arresting agency, and the FBI. It is like your case never existed. Whether you won your case at trial, or if your case was dismissed, your criminal file is accessible to the public, employers, landlords, and licensing agencies. Your arrest will also come up on background checks. To have your record expunged and destroyed, you must file and prosecute a Petition to Expunge in the County where your case concluded. Illinois allows certain felonies to be expunged. If your case does not qualify for expungement, you may be able to seal it. Most felony cases are eligible to be sealed in Illinois. There are specific waiting periods before you can file for felony expungement. For some felony cases, you can file for expungement right away, and in other cases, you must wait five years.
It depends on how your case concluded. Your sentence determines whether you can expunge your record, and how long you have to wait to file for expungement. After the required waiting period has passed, you can file a Petition to Expunge with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. A court date is usually assigned for most cases. In Court, you must prove to the judge that you are a good person and that the public has no need to keep your record public. You can have witnesses testify as to your good character. You also submit documents to the Court and State's Attorney that show your accomplishments, school history, employment history, letters of recommendation, awards, and other material about yourself. The idea is to paint the best possible picture of yourself to the Court. The judge will consider whether you have turned your life around and are worthy of having your record expunged.
You can file immediately to expunge your case if the following occurred:
- SOL - case stricken
- Finding of not guilty
- Finding of no probable cause
- Nolle Prosequi (State not prosecuting case)
- Released without a conviction
- Deferred Prosecution
Five Year Waiting Period
The waiting period is five years after completing your sentence for the following:
- Tasc Probation
- Second Chance Probation
- 410, 710, 1410 Probation
- Qualified Probation
- First Offender Drug Probation
WHICH CASES CANNOT BE EXPUNGED?
- Reckless Driving if you were over 25
- Domestic Battery
- Most sexual cases
- Animal Cruelty cases
- Battery to an unborn child
- Violation of Order of Protection
- Violation of no Stalking Contact Order
- Traffic Offences
- Sentenced to regular probation
Do not be discouraged if you cannot expunge your felony case. In Illinois, you can seal almost all felonies. Over the last several years, expungement law has expanded to include most criminal cases. When you seal your record, it gets hidden from the general public, employers, licensing agencies, and landlords. Your record will also not appear on background checks. Although a sealed record does not get destroyed as an expunged record, they both share most of the same benefits.
Legal Defenders, P.C., an Illinois law firm, has been helping people get through the criminal justice system since 2004. We have represented thousands of clients and have been successful in expunging and sealing felonies and misdemeanors in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Kane County, McHenry County and Will County. We focus exclusively on pardons, sealing, and expunging criminal records. Call us at 312-229-5500 for a free consultation with an attorney who understands the importance of expunging your felony.