Once you have gathered all of the information about your criminal records, you must decide which qualify for expungement and which are eligible for sealing.
First, download the Worksheet for criminal records expungement and sealing to get all of your information organized in one place. Then go through the information below.
What do I look for on my criminal record?
To figure out if the offenses on your criminal record can be expunged (erased) and/or sealed (hidden), you need to look at each item in your criminal record and find the:
- Arrest dates and the police department which arrested you.
- Charge: The type of offense you were charged with in court or arrested for and released without charge.
- Disposition: The outcome of the case, for example, guilty/not guilty.
- Sentence: The punishment you received.
- The date you completed any sentence.
Once you find these on your criminal record, review the information below to see if your offenses can be expunged and/or sealed.
What is a conviction?
For purposes of expungement, a conviction includes a finding of guilt resulting in a sentence of:
- Jail or prison time
- Conditional discharge
- Time considered served
- Supervisions or qualified probations that are not completed
What types of offenses can be expunged (erased)?
The following types of arrests, charges, or sentences on your criminal record can be expunged:
- Arrests for misdemeanors and felonies that did not result in a conviction
- Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies only if:
- They were reversed or vacated,
- They were pardoned,
- You are an honorably discharged veteran, and you have a Certificate of Eligibility for Expungement from the Prisoner Review Board
- Sentences for supervision if the waiting period has passed
- Sentences for supervision for reckless driving if you were under 25 at the time and are over 25 now
- Sentences of qualified probation, if 5 years have passed
What types of offenses cannot be expunged (erased)?
The following types of arrests, charges, or sentences on your criminal record cannot be expunged:
- Minor traffic offenses, unless you were released without being charged
- Convictions for misdemeanors and felonies unless they were reversed, vacated, pardoned, or approved by the Prisoner Review Board.
- Court supervision or qualified probation that was not completed
- Court supervision for the following offenses:
- Reckless driving (if you were 25 or older at the time)
- Driving under the influence
- Sexual offenses against minors
What types of offenses can be sealed (hidden)?
Arrests and charges for misdemeanors and felonies that did not lead to a conviction can be sealed at any time.
Minor traffic offenses can be sealed if you were released without being charged.
Convictions for most misdemeanors and felonies can be sealed after 3 years have passed since the end of the sentence. See the next section for exceptions.
Arson and violence against youth
If your conviction requires registration under the Arson Registration Act or the Murderer and Violent Offense Against Youth Registry, you can't seal it until you are no longer required to register.
First offender probation
Arrests or charges resulting in first offender probation under the following laws are eligible for sealing after 3 years, or expungement after 5 years:
- Section 10 of the Cannabis Control Act
- Section 410 of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act
- Section 70 of the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act
- Section 5-6-3.3 (second chance Probation) of the Unified Code of Corrections
Shorter waiting periods for students
You may be able to seal all eligible offenses upon the completion of your last sentence instead of after the 2 or 3-year waiting period. You must have completed one of the educational goals listed below during the period of your last sentence. The following educational goals are eligible:
- High school diploma
- Associate's degree
- Career certificate
- Vocational or technical certification
- Bachelor's degree
- Passed the high school GED test
What types of cannot be sealed (hidden)?
Convictions and supervision for the following misdemeanors cannot be sealed:
- Minor traffic offenses
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving (unless you were under 25 at the time and had no other similar convictions)
- Domestic battery
- Violating an Order of Protection, Civil No Contact Order, or Stalking No Contact Order.
- Soliciting a prostitute or patronizing a prostitute
- Public indecency felony (misdemeanors are eligible)
- Misdemeanors under Article 11 of the Criminal Code (except prostitution)
- Any offense that requires registration under the Sex Offender Registration Act
- Class A misdemeanors for animal abuse
If you had felony convictions sealed, you and are convicted of another felony, the new felony will not be eligible, and the old ones could be unsealed.
What if I have some offenses that can be expunged or sealed and some that cannot?
Even if some instances are not eligible for expungement or sealing, you may still expunge or seal those arrests and cases that are eligible. The ones that are not eligible will stay on your record.
Updated: April 2018