Written by attorney Steven H. Fagan

Learn about clearing your criminal record using expungement and sealing law in Illinois.

Clearing your criminal record in Illinois can have an enormous impact on your ability to find employment, deal with an immigration problem and much more. Your reputation is more at stake in our connected world than ever.

Most misdemeanors and some felony cases are eligible for expungement, but there are exceptions. The types of cases that can be sealed are even more limited.

The main issues that must be considered are:

  • Legal eligibilty - does the law allow the type of case to be expunged or sealed?
  • Is there any other criminal conviction or offense in your background which may prohibit expungement or sealing of the case you are seeking to clear?
  • Is the legally required waiting period satisfied? (This can range from no waiting period to five years)
  • Are there other factors which may affect the Judge's decision? The Judge always has ultimate discretion.

All of these questions require a careful examination before a petition is ever filed.

Once these questions are answered, a legal process must be followed, and followed properly to give you the best chance of success.

Additional resources provided by the author

In addition to detailed information available at our own website at a great resource for further information about the process can be found at the office of the Illinois Appellate Defender at

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