Illinois Expungement and Sealing Basics
If you have a criminal record in the State of Illinois and want to clear it, much of it can be sealed or expunged. Expungement is a civil action in which an individual petitions the court which heard the case originally to enter an order erasing all records relating to the case. If granted, no record remains, and under Illinois law you can tell employers you have never been arrested. Further, employers are not allowed to ask if you have ever had a case expunged even during the application process.
We always begin the process by determining exactly what appears on an individual’s record. Specifically, the reports can be obtained as follows:
For Records in the City of Chicago Only:
Chicago Police Department
Access and Review Division
3510 South Michigan Avenue, First Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60653
Fingerprints taken: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pick-up criminal history results: Monday – Friday, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
For Records in the State of Illinois:
Illinois State Police
Division of Administration - Bureau of Identification
260 North Chicago Street
Joliet, Illinois 60432
815-740-5160, extension 2743
Fee for non-fingerprint conviction information: $16.00
Fee for fingerprint conviction information: $20.00
We have the forms for these in the office – there are no PDF’s
The forms are controlled by number – they must be ordered
For nationwide records:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
1000 Custer Hollow Road
Clarksburg WV 26306
Made in writing with all the identifiers of an individual. Must relate that it is made pursuant to FOIA
You can expunge your record if you have never been convicted. Convictions include the following: Probation, Conditional Discharge, Time Considered Served, Prison or Jail Time and Fines (municipal ordinance violations). A record is eligible for expungement if it is one of the following dispositions:
Supervision completed successfully
Specialized drug probations – 410, 710, 1410, 40-10 or some TASC
You cannot expunge,ever:
Any sexual offense against a minor under the age of 18
All other cases are expungeable, though they have a two year waiting period after the completion of any sentence of supervision, except the following which have a five year wait:
Suspended registration for non-insurance
Displaying false insurance
Failure of scrap dealer to keep records
Domestic Battery (if you got supervision)
Criminal Sexual Abuse (victim over 18)
Retail Theft (can seal in THREE years)
If you have been convicted, you can possibly seal your record. When a record is “sealed," your file remains intact but under seal. The records can only be released to governmental and other law enforcement agencies. Employers will not have access to the records. The following can generally be sealed: misdemeanor acquittals and dismissals, misdemeanor convictions and supervisions, felony acquittals, dismissals and convictions for the following (all Class 4):
(2) Possession of Cannabis*
(3) Possession of Controlled Substance*
(4) Carry/Possession of Firearm (between 1995 and 1999)
*Proof of clean drug test required to file.
You can seal anything that you can expunge, though some (like Retail Theft) have different waiting periods.
You cannot seal supervision for:
Any sex offense under 720 ILCS 5/11, except:
Marrying a Bigamist
Crime of violence, defined by 740 ILCS 45/2, including:
§ Agg Assault
§ Domestic Battery
§ Crim Sex Abuse
§ Reckless Conduct
Violation Order of Protection
Humane Care of Animals Act violation
Any offense you register as a sex offender for
The filing process then requires some examination. Each county has its own procedures and some their own forms. In all cases there are four notices required – the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification, the chief legal officer of the town which arrested you, State’s Attorney for the county in which you were arrested (even if they did not prosecute the case) and the Chief of Police for the department which arrested you. Filing fees are paid differently in each county, some have advance fees and some wait until after the decision of the court.
In each instance, the four noticed parties have a right to object to the granting of your petition. Usually this is done in writing. In most courts you only need to go to a court appearance if an objection is made. Some counties (Kane, for example) require each case to go to court.
Once the petition is granted the order must be disseminated to the above parties so they will strike or expunge the records. A $60 fee to the Illinois State Police must be paid. If the clerk does not handle the dissemination, the party or their lawyer must.
Many people do this on their own, though an attorney can likely do it faster and more assuredly if time is of the issue, especially one who handles these regularly in the county in question.