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Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records

An arrest record is often a source of embarrassment that prevents you from getting a job and/or advancing your career. If you have a documented arrest or have been charged, your criminal record is part of the public record that can be viewed by anyone, even if your arrest charges were dropped, dismissed, or you were just placed on court supervision.

Don't let an arrest record define who you are and prevent future success. Allow an experienced lawyer to navigate the complicated Illinois expungement and sealing laws for you.

What is expungement?
Expungement means your arrest record is removed from the official records of the Department of State police, the arresting authority, the official index the Circuit Clerk must keep, and employers and law enforcement officials cannot see the record. Generally, Illinois law provides you an opportunity to expunge your Illinois criminal and arrest records in cases of supervision dismissal or findings of not guilty.

If you do not qualify to expunge your criminal record, you still may qualify for sealing so that your criminal record is no longer available to employers or other members of the public. Even if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, or a certain type of less serious felony, you may be able to seal your record.

QUIZ- Are you eligible to expunge or seal your record?
To assist individuals in determining whether they may be a candidate to expunge or seal their Illinois criminal record, the Bentz Law Firm has created the below quiz. Remember that convictions are judgments entered on findings of guilty by the court, unlike supervision orders, which are not convictions. If you are not certain which one applies to you, review your court sentence documents or contact the clerk of court where you were sentenced.

Q: Were you charged with a crime but either found not guilty (acquitted) or released without a conviction (the case was dismissed, nolle prosequi or "SOL")?
A: You may be eligible to expunge the records of your arrest immediately upon acquittal or release without conviction if you have no other convictions on your record.
Q: Have you been placed on court supervision for an Illinois criminal misdemeanor violation, other than DUI, and have no other misdemeanor or felony convictions?
A: If so, you are likely eligible to expunge.
Unlike expungement, a prior conviction does not necessarily preclude sealing (i.e. closing the record from public viewing absent a specific court order to open the record or upon arrest for the same or similar offense or felony) a more recent conviction or supervision.
Q: How long has it been since your termination of supervision?
A: A majority of Illinois criminal sentences have a two year wait to expunge after termination of supervision and some Illinois criminal charges, such as retail theft or reckless driving, have a five year wait after supervision for expungement.
Q: Has the Governor issued you a pardon which specifically states your records should be expunged?
A: If so, you are likely eligible to expunge
Q: Do you have a DUI conviction or supervision order?
A: It cannot be expunged, even after successful completion . When the charge is a DUI, only a dismissal or finding of not guilty can be expunged .
Q: Do you have a felony conviction?
A: Most felony convictions are not eligible to be expunged from a criminal record unless the probation was under section 410 or 710 first offender probation for certain drug charges, in which case you must wait 5 years after termination of the sentence before seeking expungement of the criminal record.
Q: Were you granted supervision for or convicted of a sexual offense committed against a minor under 18 years of age?
A: If so, you most likely cannot expunge the record.
Q: Do you have a misdemeanor conviction for assault, battery, or domestic battery?
A: If so, you most likely cannot seal the conviction
Q: Do you have a felony conviction for possession of drugs in a small amount or prostitution?
A: If so, you may be eligible for sealing under certain circumstances.

If, after completing the quiz, you believe you qualify to expunge or seal your record, contact us online or by asking for Attorney Bentz at (312)641.2233. Please provide the Bentz Law Firm with the below information for every single arrest, not just the charges you wish to seal or expunge. If you prefer to have Bentz Law provide the information, an additional expense will be added.

  Name of arresting police department;
  Case number and County and Courthouse or branch court number;
  Charges you were found guilty of or pled to as well as the original charges for any and all other criminal arrests that resulted in a conviction, dismissal, or supervision       (please state if you were found not guilty or case was dismissed);
  Your sentence (example: supervision, conditional discharge, probation, other court orders etc);
  Date your sentence was terminated;

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.


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