The Basics of Expungement in Illinois

by John D. Ioakimidis, Esq,

There is no doubt that having a criminal record can adversely affect all areas of your life, including your job prospects, housing, and even your personal reputation. At John D. Ioakimidis, our Chicago expungement attorneys represent clients who are seeking to clear their criminal record through expungement. With years of experience, we can thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

Even if you were arrested and released without charges, or the charges were later dismissed, this information will be codified in a public record. In addition, if you received a sentence to Court Supervision for a misdemeanor or were placed on Probation for certain felonies, your case will remain a public record even after you finish your sentence.

Expungement refers to the court-ordered process through which the legal record of a person’s arrest or criminal conviction is erased in the eyes of the law and the public. The Illinois Criminal Identification Act allows persons in certain situations to clear arrests, charges, probation supervision, or even criminal convictions from their criminal records through expungement or sealing. With expungement, all or part of your record is physically destroyed so that not even law enforcement can discover it at a later time. A sealed record, on the other hand, is not physically destroyed but is made inaccessible to the general public (i.e., an employer), while it is still available for law enforcement to discover.

Illinois state law allows for the expungement of many criminal records, but not all criminal records. Expungement is generally available for cases that were dismissed or resulted in a favorable disposition, including but not limited to these situations:

  • Your charges were dismissed or you were acquitted;
  • You were given community service or probation, which you successfully completed;
  • You were placed under arrest but never charged with the offense;
  • You received a pardon; or
  • Your conviction was reversed or vacated.

Under Illinois law, you can file for expungement after two or five years have passed from the termination of your supervision or probation; the time is contingent on the nature of the offense charged. For example, if you have completed community supervision, you will generally be able to seek an expungement immediately afterwards. However, if you are on “Qualified Probation,” you will have to wait five years from the date it was completed to seek expungement.

Certain offenses, such as DUIs, minor traffic offenses, and sex crimes against minors, are not eligible for expungement. Although most felonies and criminal convictions do not qualify for expungement, there are some exceptions, such as Class 3 or 4 felonies, certain drug-related felonies under the Cannabis Control Act or Section 402 of the Controlled Substances Act, and some prostitution-related Class 4 felonies. We can examine your case, determine your eligibility for expungement, and provide you with an honest assessment of your situation.

A prior arrest or conviction can cause more than mere embarrassment; it can adversely affect both your personal and professional lives. If your problems from the past are still following you today, you should consider an expungement. At John D. Ioakimidis, our seasoned Chicago expungement attorneys can evaluate your situation and inform you of your options. We strongly believe that your past mistakes should not be a permanent barrier to future opportunities in your life. Our goal is to help you move on with your life.

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