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Can I get my criminal record cleared in Illinois? (Part 2)

In a previous post, we examined the options available for clearing your criminal record under Illinois law: sealing and expungement. Today we’ll discuss the eligibility requirements of each.

Which should I choose?

Expungement is generally considered preferable to sealing because it protects your criminal record from ever being dug up. However, in some cases, only sealing may be permitted.

Do I qualify for expungement?

The state of Illinois determines whether you case can be expunged based on a series of conditions, including:

  • Your case’s disposition (i.e., court ruling),
  • Your sentence,
  • Whether you are an honorably discharged veteran and
  • Certain criteria surrounding reckless driving offenses.

Generally, acquittals, dismissals and non-conviction sentences are eligible for expungement. For convictions, expungement is generally not possible, unless there were changes made to this ruling later on (such as the conviction being reversed).

For felony convictions in Illinois, expungement is often prohibited. However, you can have your felony sealed from your record in most cases.

Do I qualify for sealing?

If at least three years has passed since you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony (other than the charges listed below), you can likely have your record sealed. You can also have your record sealed once you have been removed from the Murder or Violent Offender Against Youth Registry.

You cannot have your record sealed or expunged if:

  • You violated an order of protection.
  • You committed domestic battery (unless your sentence was court supervision).
  • You committed a sex crime (with some exceptions).
  • You committed a crime against an animal.
  • You have a DUI.
  • You committed reckless driving (with some exceptions).

Clearing your criminal record can be an extremely important step in returning your life to normal following an arrest or conviction. An experienced defense attorney can help you understand the options you have in your case.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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