|Expunging Your Criminal Record||
Last updated: September 2015
Expungement of your criminal record can remove arrests, supervisions, and qualifying probations from your record. There are two types of criminal records:Court records that have information about your criminal case’s outcome which are held by your local Circuit Court’s ClerkPolice records kept by the arresting authorityYou do not qualify for expungement if you have been convicted of:A criminal offenseA municipal ordinance violationA Class A or B traffic offenseAfter your record has been expunged, your criminal record is only available by court order and no longer appears on background checks.Click on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.What does expungement do? Under Illinois law, a person may file a petition asking the Court to expunge their criminal record. Expungement can remove arrests, supervisions, and qualifying probations from your criminal record. Convictions can only be expunged if they have been reversed, vacated, pardoned by the Governor or approved for expungment by the Prisoner Review Board.Who keeps my criminal record? There are two types of criminal records: court records police recordsCourt records are kept by your local Circuit Court's Clerk. They have information about your criminal case's outcome. Police records are kept by the arresting authority. For example, the Illinois State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are arresting authorities. If my criminal record is expunged, what happens to it? When an expungement is granted:Both the arresting authority and the State Police Department remove your arrest record from their official files.The Clerk removes your name from the public record and impounds the file.The State Police Department forwards the cleared record to the FBI. The FBI will clear your record in their files also.Even though your record is officially clear, the Department of Corrections and law enforcement agencies will still have access to the expunged record for offenses requiring a five-year waiting period only (710-1410 and TASC probation, as well as supervision for domestic battery or criminal sexual assualt).After expungment, your criminal record is only available by court order and no longer appears on background checks.Who qualifies for an expungement? People who have never been convicted of a criminal offense, municipal ordinance violation, or a Class A or B traffic offense can expunge their criminal record.A conviction means any finding of guilt which results in regular probation, conditional discharge, fine, time served, or a sentence of incarceration. If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, you may qualify to have your record expunged if the conviction was:Reversed or vacated Pardoned by the Governor Approved for expungement by the Prisoner Review BoardWhat types of criminal records cannot be expunged? If you were convicted for any misdemeanor, felony, or criminal municipal ordinance violation, you cannot expunge your record. Convictions include a plea of guilty or being found guilty by a judge or jury where you were sentenced to:Fines for ordinance violationsRegular probation (other than "710," "1410" or "TASC" probation)Time considered servedJail or prison timeConditional dischargeNote: You can expunge your record if your conviction was later reversed or vacated, you were pardoned by the Governor, or you were approved for expungment by the Prisoner Review Board.Are there certain criminal offenses that cannot be expunged? Yes. Under Illinois law, some crimes have special rules for the expungements. You cannot expunge your criminal record if your were sentenced to supervision for any of the following:Sexual offense committed by a minor under 18Driving Under the Influence (DUI)Reckless DrivingHowever, you can still ask the Court to expunge other cases on your criminal record. What types of criminal records are not convictions? For the purposes of expungement, the following case outcomes are not considered convictions:Supervision, if the conditions of supervision were satisfied. This means that supervision was not revoked or terminated unsatisfactorilyNolle Prosequi (NP)Stricken Off with Leave to Reinstate (SOL)Non-SuitFinding of No Probable Cause (FNPC)DismissedReleased without Charging (RWOC)A Finding or Verdict of Not Guilty (FNG/VNG)Successful completion of special First Time Offender drug probation ("710" or "1410" probation)Successful completion and vacation of TASC probationThe conviction was pardoned by the GovernorThe conviction was approved for expungment by the Prisoner Review BoardThe conviction was reversed or vacatedHow can I be sure I have my complete criminal history? If all your arrests occurred in the City of Chicago, you can get your Rap Sheet at 3510 S. Michigan for a $16 fee. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am - 3:30 pm. Pick-up is one week later.If you have arrests or convictions outside of the City of Chicago, you can ask the local law enforcement agency or correctional facility for a criminal history transcript. The local law enforcement agency or correctional facility will use your fingerprints and other forms of identification and will send it to the Illinois State Police. The Illinois State Police will then send your complete criminal history transcript to the local law enforcement agency or correctional facility. The agency or facility will notify you that it has your criminal history transcript. You can then go to the agency or facility to look at your criminal history transcript. You are not allowed to make a copy of your criminal history transcript. Instead you need to write down all the information. The Illinois State Police website has more information of how to get a criminal history transcript.You must compare the police records to the court records, which are found in the county that you were prosecuted in. Some records are available online, others you must physically go to the court house to get.Do I have to wait before filing my petition for expungement? Maybe. Case outcomes with no waiting period include:Acquittals (being found not-guilty)Dismissals (i.e., Nolle Prosequi, FNPC, Dismissed)Released without being charged (RWOC)Pardons from the Governor specifically saying your record should be expungedCase outcomes with a 120 to 160 day waiting period include:Stricken with Leave to Reinstate ("SOL") - If a case is SOL it means the judge dismissed the charges against you. Often this occurs if the State's Attorney cannot prove their case because a key witness did not appear in court on the trial date. The State's Attorney has a short period of time to bring the case against you again and go to trial.Non-Suit ("N/S")How long is the waiting period for cases that resulted in supervision? First, you must successfully complete the conditions of your supervision. When your supervision is over, you will have to wait 2 or 5 years. The time you must wait will depend on the criminal offenses. You must wait 5 years if your criminal offense includes any of the following:Domestic Battery Criminal Sexual AbuseAggravated Battery of a ChildUninsured Motor Vehicle Suspended Registration for Non-InsuranceDisplay of False InsuranceScrap Processor Failed to Keep Records If you received supervision for another type of case, you must wait 2 years from the end of the sentence.You can file for any case that is not in a waiting period. That means the entire record doesn't have to be eligible. However, a judge can use their discretion and make you wait until the last waiting period has passed.How long is the waiting period for cases that resulted in special probation? First, you must successfully complete your probation. Second, if you received either "710" or "1410" First Time Offender Probation for a drug offense or "TASC" probation, you must wait 5 years from the end of the sentence before filing for expungement. You must also provide clean drug test results.If you were sentenced to TASC probation, you also must get certification that you successfully completed the probation. Then you must file a motion to vacate the sentence within 30 days.What can I do if I cannot expunge my criminal record? If you cannot expunge your criminal record, you may be able to seal it. For more information about sealing your criminal record see the "Related Articles" section. What if someone stole my identity and committed a crime? It is possible for you to have a criminal record because of mistaken identity or identity theft. This can occur when:Someone lied and used your identity during an arrest, citation, or conviction;A prosecutor mistakenly filed charges against someone else in your name; orA court mistakenly used your name with a conviction.If this has happened you are a victim of criminal identity theft. The process for clearing your record in this situation is different from regular expungement. See the "Related Articles" tab for more information. What does it cost to expunge my criminal record? There is a fee to file a petition to expunge your criminal record. To find out how much you will be charged, contact your local Clerk's office. In Cook County, the cost is $120 plus $9 per case.If you cannot afford the fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees. For more information of fee waivers, see the "Related Articles" section of this Guide.Do I need to report expunged arrests on immigration forms? If you are not a U.S. citizen, you should consult an immigration lawyer before you try to expunge or seal your record.In immigration proceedings, any evidence of criminal activity may be used against you. It will not matter if the record has been sealed or expunged. The record can still be used in proceedings.What if an employer asks about arrests and convictions that were expunged? An employer cannot ask you about arrests on a job application. They can only ask whether you have been found guilty of a criminal offense. If your record has been expunged or sealed, you may answer "no" to the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime"?It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you in any way due to an expunged or sealed record.Look up your criminal history and get your rap sheet Go to the court clerk's offices and look up your criminal history. You can go to the Daley Center's (50 W. Washington St.) expungement help desk, Room 1006, and look up your record on the public computers. You can also go to your local courthouse. Each courthouse will give your history for all of Cook County. Print up the history if you can, or write down the case information. See the "Common Questions" section of this guide for more information on how to look up your criminal history. If you are filing in the city of Chicago, you need to get a "Criminal History Record Information," or rap sheet, from the:Chicago Police Department3510 S. Michigan AvenueChicago, IL 60653They will take your fingerprints between 8 am and noon on a weekday. You will have to come back and pick up the rap sheet. It costs $16.Visit an expungement help desk For help and more information, visit CGLA’s Expungement Help Desk in Room 1006 of the Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St. The help desk is open from 9 to noon on Mondays through Fridays. Be sure to get there before 9 because they only take the first 25 people each day. Bring your rap sheet or they won’t be able to help you.You can also go to the James Moran Center help desk at the Skokie Courthouse in District 2 at 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to noon. It’s first come, first served, so get there early.Find out if your case can be expunged Read the "Common Questions" section of this guide to see what kinds of cases can be expunged. Then, complete the online form "Criminal Record Expungement or Sealing- Chicago Arrests Only" in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide. After you answer questions about your criminal convictions, this program will tell you if you can expunge your record. If you do not qualify to expunge, you may qualify for sealing. Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to learn how to seal your record.Find out where you need to file your petition to expunge Your record will tell you which court handled the case you are trying to expunge. You can use this map and guide to help you find which district you should file in. Remember, you need to file in the district that your record is in, which is not necessarily the district you live in.You will need to file separate petitions for each suburban district. Some districts have slightly different procedures, so make sure you get to the right courthouse.The City of Chicago is District 1, and you will go to the Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St to file your petition.If your criminal case happened in the City of Chicago, you can file your forms either at:The Daley Center (50 W. Washington St.), Room 1006, orThe Criminal Division building on 26th and California, 5th floorIf your traffic case happened in the City of Chicago, you must file your forms at the Daley Center (50 W. Washington St.), Room LL-20. Only traffic cases that are Class A or B misdemeanors can be expunged or sealed. Most traffic offenses are petty offenses, such as speeding or running a red light, and are not subject to expungement or sealing.If you are filing in a suburban district (2-6) outside of Chicago, you can get more specific instructions by changing the zip code entered for this guide. You can use any suburban zip code, such as 60077.Prepare your forms Complete the online form "Criminal Record Expungement or Sealing- Chicago Arrests Only" in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide. After you answer questions about your convictions, this program will automatically create all the forms you need to expunge your criminal record. You can also get the forms at a courthouse. You will need:A "Petition to Expunge"An "Order to Expunge" A "Notice of Filing"An "Order Denying Petition to Expunge"You will also need:Your rap sheet from the police station for Chicago cases onlyYour "criminal disposition," which you get from the Clerk at the Daley CenterFile your forms and pay or waive your fees In Cook County, you must pay a $120 filing fee, plus $9 per case. If you cannot afford to pay this fee you can ask the court to waive it. Go to the “Related Articles” section of this guide to learn more "Filing Court Papers for Free."Wait 60 days After you file, state agencies have 60 days to object to your petition. If they do not object, the court will enter an Order granting or denying the petition. In Chicago, you will receive a copy of your Order in the mail. The Order will say if your Petition was granted or if the state objected.If they object, you will receive notice and a hearing date in the mail. If you don’t receive your Order or notice of hearing in the mail after 60 days, you can call the Clerk's Office for an update on the status of your case.Hearings If a state agency objects, you will be given a hearing date. You need to go to court on the date and time listed on the form you were mailed.When going to your hearing remember to:Dress like you are going to an important business meetingShow up to the courthouse early, a lot of things at the courthouse will slow you down Check in with the clerk in the courtroomWait patiently until your case or name is calledIf the judge asks you any questions, be respectful and call her "Your Honor" or "Judge"If your petition is granted The Clerk's Office will give a copy of the Order to you, the Illinois State Police, and the arresting authority.Your record will be expunged within 2 months of receipt of the order. You will be told when that occurs.If your petition is denied If your petition is denied at the hearing, you may file a "Motion to Reconsider" within 30 days of the denial.For more information on filing a motion with the court, see "How to Prepare, File, and Present Motions in Court" in the Related Articles section of this guide. Look up your criminal history and get your rap sheet Go to the court clerk's offices in your local courthouse and look up your criminal history. Each courthouse will give your history for all of Cook County. Print up the history if you can, or write down the case information. You can also go to the Daley Center’s (50 W. Washington St.) expungement help desk, Room 1006, and look up your record on the public computers. You can also go to your local courthouse.See the "Common Questions" section of this guide for more information on how to look up your criminal history. If you are filing in the city of Chicago, you need to get a "Criminal History Record Information," or rap sheet, from the Chicago Police Department at 4770 S. Kedzie, 1st Floor, 60632. They will take your fingerprints between 8 am and noon on a weekday. You will have to come back and pick up the rap sheet. It costs $16.If you are filing your peti
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