SEALING MISDEMEANOR CASES IN ILLNOIS
If you have been convicted of crime in Illinois, you must seal your record if you want it hidden from the public, employers, landlords, and licensing agencies. If you received regular probation, conditional discharge, or time served, those sentences are considered convictions and are not eligible for expungement. A sealed record will not come up on background searches, and you do not have to tell anyone that your case was sealed – including employers.
WHICH ILLINOIS MISDEMEANORS CAN I SEAL?
You can seal almost all misdemeanor cases in Illinois. The Petition to Seal must be filed in the County where your case concluded. The Clerk of Court assigns a court date in most counties. Soon after your case is filed; you appear in Court and try to convince the judge that you deserve to have your record sealed. A mitigation packet is given to the Court and the State’s Attorney that includes your resume, work history, school transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards, and other documents that show that you are a good person. Examples of cases you can seal are:
- Almost all misdemeanors
- Retail Theft
- Drug cases
- Gun cases
- Battery and Assault
- Criminal Trespass
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO SEAL MY RECORD?
The waiting period to file a Petition to Seal is three years after you complete your sentence. If you received Conditional Discharge, Regular Probation, or Time served, the waiting period is three years.
WHICH ILLINOIS MISDEMEANOR CASES CAN NOT BE SEALED?
If your case is not eligible for expunging or sealing, you can file a Clemency Petition with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board and request a pardon from the Governor. The following cases do not qualify for sealing:
- DUI & 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 Staking Contact Order
If your case does not qualify for expungement, do not be discouraged. The law has been changing rapidly in this area in Illinois. We urge you to keep checking every so often because the law may change.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I CANNOT SEAL MY RECORD?
In situations where you cannot seal or expunge your record, there is the option of seeking a pardon by the Governor. A Clemency Petition is filed with the Illinois Prisoners Review Board detailing your life, your accomplishments, and your good character. The Petition includes your criminal history, employment history, school transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards, certificates, and other documents that show that you are a good citizen and deserve to be forgiven for your crime. At the hearing before the Board, you present the best possible picture of yourself. You can also have witnesses testify as to your good character. The Illinois Prisoner Review Board will then make a recommendation to the Governor which he can accept or reject.
A BRIGHTER FUTURE
If you want to move forward with your life, it is critically important that your arrest record is hidden from the public or destroyed. Call us at (312) 229-5500 for a free consultation for cases in Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County. We understand what you are going through and are here to help you clear your criminal record.